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Acid & Bases

We will take a look at some simple ideas related to acid bases

Acids and bases are classified by the chemical behavior of their molecules. Acids usually have a sour taste, are covalent electrolytes, and turn litmus paper red. Citric acid is one example of an acid many of us have encountered as it is commonly found in citrus fruits such as oranges. At a technical level, acids donate a H+ ion during a chemical reaction.


On the other hand, Bases tend to have a better taste, are slippery when mixed with water, and turn litmus paper blue. Soap is one example of the use of a base in everyday life. Bases accept an H+ ion during a chemical reaction at a technical level. When acids and bases are mixed, they generally neutralize each other and produce water as a by-product.

Most acids and bases are aqueous solutions, which means they are found in a liquid state. However, some liquids do not neatly fall into the category of acid or base. Water is an example of this, and the term used to describe this is amphoteric. This means that water will sometimes donate an H+ ion or accept an H+ ion depending on the context. For this reason, water is often added to acids/bases to dilute the concentration of either one.

Water is also considered neutral on the pH scale commonly used to identify acids and bases. The Ph scale stands for potential hydrogen scale and measures the amount of hydronium ion in the solution. Lower numbers on the pH scale indicate higher levels of hydronium.

Most fruits and vegetables are considered to have low pH, thus considered base or alkaline, and they include the following

  • Avocados
  • Persimmon
  • lentils
  • Olives, black
  • Honeydew melon
  • Mangoes, ripe
  • Honeydew

Foods that are acidic in nature include the following

  • Most dairy
  • Citrus fruits
  • Meat
  • Sweeteners
  • Alcohol

There are lots of websites that promote such things as an alkaline diet. However, this is generally highly controversial, and the experts do not seem to agree about the benefits of eating alkaline foods.


Understanding acids/bases and their behavior can be important, especially in everyday life. Acid and bases serve a vital role in many different substances and can be helpful or harmful depending on the context.

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