What is the decomposition time of apple?

August 5, 2023
min read

Short answer

The decomposition time of an apple can vary depending on various factors such as temperature, humidity, and the specific conditions it is exposed to. However, on average, an apple takes around 2-4 weeks to decompose completely.


When an apple decomposes, it goes through several distinct stages. Initially, the apple's skin begins to wrinkle and become softer. Over time, the fruit becomes increasingly fragile and prone to bruising. Eventually, the apple's skin may break down completely, allowing bacteria and fungi to invade the fruit. This is when the decomposition process accelerates significantly.

During the next stage, the apple's flesh starts to darken and lose its crispness. It becomes mushy and visibly discolored, as enzymes and microorganisms break down its cellular structure. At this point, the apple releases a distinct odor, which is caused by the production of various gases, such as methane, ethylene, and carbon dioxide. This odor attracts flies and other insects, which further aid in the decomposition process by laying eggs on the decaying fruit.

In the final stage, the apple's remains reach a point of complete breakdown. The once recognizable shape of the apple is now reduced to a slimy mass. This mass is teeming with microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, which continue to break down the organic matter, effectively returning it to the soil. The overall timeframe for the decomposition of an apple can vary depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, and the presence of oxygen. The process is a testament to the cycle of life and the essential role that decomposition plays in the natural world.

Is it possible to recycle apple?

Intresting facts

  • Apple decomposition process: Apples undergo decomposition through both biochemical and physical changes, resulting in various fascinating facts.
  • Microorganisms and enzymes: The decomposition of apples is primarily facilitated by microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, as well as enzymes present within the fruit itself.
  • Release of gases: During decomposition, apples release gases such as ethylene and carbon dioxide. Ethylene, a natural plant hormone, causes surrounding fruits to ripen more quickly.
  • Softening and brown discoloration: As the decomposition progresses, apples gradually soften due to the breakdown of cell walls. Additionally, enzymatic browning occurs, giving the apple flesh a brown discoloration.
  • Nutrient recycling: Decomposing apples return vital nutrients to the ecosystem. The breakdown of organic matter in apples releases nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium back into the soil, benefiting other plants and organisms.

Summary and final thoughts

The decomposition time of an apple depends on various factors such as environmental conditions, presence of microorganisms, and method of disposal. In general, an apple can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to decompose completely. When an apple is thrown in a compost pile or exposed to natural elements, the decomposition process is faster due to the presence of bacteria, fungi, and other decomposers. However, in a landfill where conditions are not ideal for decomposition, an apple may take significantly longer to break down. Therefore, the decomposition time of an apple can vary but generally ranges from weeks to months.

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