Oranges and Lemons

Cover Oranges and Lemons


Secondary School

Physics, Biology, Chemistry


Using the chiral molecule limonene, students engange in a number of laboratory experiments to isolate and characterise the compound.

The students isolate the two forms of limonene from oranges and lemons using steam distillation. They study the extracts using simple chemical analysis, polarimetry and colorimetry, for which they are challenged to build a functioning polarimeter and colorimeter. Through observations, the students make connections to aspects of biology, chemistry, physics and even mineralogy.

This project was highly commended by the jury at the European Science on Stage festival 2019 in Cascais.

Authors: Francesca Butturini and Gordon Kennedy, Italy 

Teaching Materials

Oranges and Lemons

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