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Imagine this scenario: two blocks of wood are sitting side-by-side on a table. At first glance they seem nearly identical -- same size, same length, same type of wood -- but when the lights are flipped off, you discover that one of the blocks glows with an eerie hue. The lights are switched back on, and you're immediately asked, "which block of wood is cooler?"

"Cooler?" you ask, not quite understanding the question. "Cooler as in temperature, or... ?"

"Cooler as in most AWESOME!" the imaginary question-asker replies.

What would you answer be? More likely than not, you'll reply that the glowing block is much cooler than the non-glowing version, and with good reason -- things that glow are always cooler than things that don't. For example, glow sticks are cooler than regular sticks; glow worms are cooler than plain worms; fireflies are much, MUCH cooler than pesky old flies; and thus glowing tomatoes must be cooler than their boring, non-glowing counterparts.

If you don't believe me, I challenge you to attempt this project -- how to make a tomato glow -- and judge for yourself just how incredibly awesome a glowing (inedible) tomato really is... or you could cheat and watch the video after the jump.

  1. A box of non-safety matches
  2. Bleach
  3. A tomato
  4. Hydrogen peroxide
  1. Knife
  2. Small container
  3. Syringe
Less than an hour

  1. Empty the box of matches, and use your knife to scrap off the red material on the heads of each individual match.
  2. Collect the match head shavings and place them in your container.
  3. Pour in enough bleach to completely submerge the match heads, and allow the material to fully dissolve.
  4. Let the bleach / match mixture sit for 20 minutes.
  5. After the mixture has sat for long enough, you should see two distinct layers in your container: solid on the bottom, liquid on top. Using your syringe, extract the liquid layer.
  6. Find a spot along the side of your tomato and inject some of the extracted liquid.
  7. Move over an inch and inject the tomato again.
  8. Repeat the last two steps until you've made it all the way around the tomato, and used up all of your extracted liquid.
  9. Fill the syringe with hydrogen peroxide and inject it into the center of the tomato.
  10. Continue injecting the center of the tomato until it starts to glow, or you've run out of hydrogen peroxide.
  11. Sit back and marvel at the coolest (glowing) tomato you've ever seen.

If it's not already obvious from the lethal amounts of chemicals you've just injected into your fruit, your glowing tomato should NOT be eaten. I repeat: DO NOT EAT THE TOMATO! You might be thinking to yourself, "but if I eat the glowing tomato, I'll glow, which will make me cooler!" No. You are wrong. If you eat the tomato you will die, and that's not cool.

And now, the part you've all been waiting for... the video. Enjoy!

[via Neatorama]

  • hameedkb

    this is a very cooool experiment,
    but why does it glow? I mean the science behind it?

  • jCK

    This is now chemical waste. And cannot be dumped in the garbage bin.

  • john

    The last step should be to personally destroy and dispose of the tomato -I've heard of folks preparing meals from dumpsters.

    I like the experiment and will probably make one - but I would not consider letting that tomato out of my site for one minute.


  • rish

    the should be DIY only in a lab environment. absolutely unsafe, what if someone ignited those match heads by accident??

  • Chris

    Right, because matches, bleach and peroxide are never, ever put into the trash.

    Give me a break. Bleach winds up in sewers all the time. Peroxide is being broken down into water and oxygen. If he filled the tomato with dry cleaning fluid, I could see it, but he didn't. The worst thing in there is a bit of antimony in the match heads, and I'm sure nobody worries about breathing it when they strike a match.

  • smotpoker

    how long does the glow last?

  • john

    I am not a helmet-in-the-shower person by any means - but it is just plain dumb to put any toxin into a food product and not realize that you are personally responsible if someone eats it. You leave a room and come back in five minutes and the tomato is gone - what now?

  • Chris Taylor

    Owe I do not know lets see I have two solutions. #1 take the danged thing with you #2 BOX IT or put a warning on it. DUh. If someone stills eats it your responsible for presenting a darwin award.

    I do want to know how this works How long it lasts How bright it really it (compared to say a glow stick) this might be a neat way to make glow payloads for night flying rockets. Does anything in the TOMATO help with this reaction or is it all the phosphor bleach and H2O2 ?

  • kat

    keep out of reach of children, just like any other dangerouse produc. leave a sign that say's poison do not eat,

  • Bill the hedgehog

    Your mom is chemical waste... but she can be dumped in the garbage.

  • ScrubDaddyPimpToaster

    Soooo....I put my glowing tomato in the toaster....and it actually decomposed!! I was way! But then, I noticed that it actually corroded most of the toaster filaments, so I was really mad. Since I don't have many friends, I like to make out with my toaster, and now I will never know that pleasure again...Guess it's back to the old days of carefully rubbing mayonnaise on my sunburnt toes...

  • Shenkhar

    Lol, people. You all suprise me. Yet another example of being un-informed. None of these chemicals can ignite when the experiment is done - and I'm pretty sure that if someone even started to eat it, they would realize that it was not an ordinary tomato.

  • stacy

    For crying out loud, are all you people THAT paranoid over a stupid tomato experiment? Geeez... Just toss the thing in your disposal when done, or stick in a ziploc and throw it out... much it up and throw it out... whatever... but relax, i highly doubt your gonna kill anyone by trying this... you do more damage everytime you throw away an empty cleaning container or a pen or a lightbulb for christs sakes...
    Stop raining on everyones parade and just sit back and say "hey that was pretty neat" instead of trying to find the DANGER in it... GEEZ!

  • rob

    isn't hydrogen peroxide bleach anyway?

  • shorty

    does anyone know the exact proportions, measurements, or even the reaction that took place

    id love to do this for my ap chemistry class
    my teacher loved it and said she would love to do it and can give me extra credit for a demonstration
    im having trouble repeating this at home

    -does non-safety matches mean "strike-anywhere matches"
    and i could use some better instuctions from someone or if anyone could point me to a website with indepth steps

    highschool junior kid who likes chemistry

  • Kevin

    has anyone tried this? what is the proportion of matchheads to bleach?

  • John Kerry is a fascist

    Sodium Hypochlorite


    Sodium Hypochlorite + Sodium Hydroxide

    which bleach??

  • krazy kr

    I have been trying this experiment and I have gone through over 4 tomatoes (I won't tell you how I disposed of them :-).
    I wonder if I am using the wrong matches. I have been using a large box of strike anywhere matches.
    I am about to give up. If you have any suggestions that might help, please let me know. Thank you very much.

  • armadillo man

    I really want to know the exact proportions... I have all the ingredients though.

  • G Waters

    I don't even know if this really works or not...I've done some research through different comments left and have yet to find anybody who has done this with successful results. I even found one that said it's as fake as the glowing mountain dew bit. I don't know. I looked up Phosphorus and Bleach on google and it turns out that they are used sometimes in certain dishwashing/laundry detergents. I'm still unsure of the hazards of combining the two (bleach and phosphorus) in certain amounts. Either way...I'm sure that the problem with the strike anywhere matches is that they aren't "non-safety" matches...they're strike-anywhere. Try finding non-safety matches

  • 21 Comments / 2 Pages

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