Understanding the Colors of Nature and the Ways Through which Bleach Works
- Sep 27, 2016
- Sudipto Das
You have seen trillions and trillions of colors every day all around you. Tomatoes are red, carrots are orange, egg yolks are yellow etc. etc. But did you ever ask yourselves the reason behind the occurrence of these colors? We’ll see to that in this article.
There are actually fifteen chemical causes of colors. This article will highlight the reasons behind the characteristic colors of egg yolks, tomatoes, carrots as well as many other pigments from nature. These pigments of nature also include the green color of leaves, the red color of blood and so on.
Some representative pigments in nature
- Lycopene-The red pigment found in tomatoes.
- Lutein- The yellow pigment found in egg yolks.
- β-carotene- The orange pigment found in carrots.
Common factor in the colors mentioned above
All of them have lots of double bonds. But do remember that having lots and lots of double bonds are not sufficient enough for a molecule to be strongly colored. There’s another factor that plays a major role here. That factor’s known to be the presence of conjugated Pi bonds.
Let’s go back to our lycopene, lutein and β-carotene.
Lycopene has 11 conjugated π bonds.
β-carotene has 11 conjugated π bonds.
Lutein has 10 conjugated π bonds.
Why are tomatoes red?
So finally we are answering this basic question. And after going through this answer, you’ll surely be able to deduce yourself the reason due to which the yolk appears to be yellow and so on.
Ripe tomatoes are seen to be red since white light is reflected back as red light. Lycopene absorbs a portion of the visible spectrum. We see that portion of the light that it fails to absorb.
How does the bleach work?
An easy explanation of this question can be made with a hypothesis.
Hypothesis: The color is due to the presence of a series of conjugated double bonds.
Red lycopene (C40H56), when subjected to exhaustive catalytic hydrogenation forms lycopane (C40H82) which is a colorless oil.
Therefore, it can be said that the removal of conjugated π bonds results in the removal of the source of color.
Bleach can remove the color of ketchup, grass, blood, carrots and lots of other common food stains by reacting with π bonds that are responsible for the color of molecules.
So there you go folks. Now you know that bleach doesn’t even clean anything. It results in the modification of specific molecules resulting in the removal of colors. So that should be all for now then. Hope you had a good read.
Sudipto writes technical and educational content periodically for wizert.com and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.
Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993
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