MadSci Network: Botany

Re: Where do fruits and vegetables get their color?

Date: Wed Apr 26 18:54:11 2000
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 956788821.Bt

Plant pigments in fruits and vegetables are mainly chlorophylls (greens), 
anthocyanins (blues, purples, reds) and carotenoids (reds, yellows, oranges). In 
ten plant families that lack anthocyanins, the major fruit and flower pigments 
are betalains. The most familiar of these is betanin from red beet roots.

The orange in carrots is due to the carotenoid, carotene. The red in tomato is 
due to the carotenoid, lycopene. The red in red cabbage is due to anthocyanins 
that are pH sensitive. They are red in acid solution, purple in neutral, and 
blue in basic. A pH indicator can be made from a variety of anthocyanin 
containing fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, cherries, blackberries, 
red onions, grapes, and radishs.


 MadSci Anthocyanins FAQ

Red Cabbage pH Indicator

Cabbage Juice Indicator

Salisbury, F.B. and Ross, C.W.. 1985. Plant Physiology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. 

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