Why are carrots orange? That’s why!


Earlier this week I wondered what makes carrots orange. Grass is green because it contains a light absorbing pigment called Chlorophyll, and certain leaves are dark red because they contain a different light absorbing pigment to absorb a different colour of light (wavelength) to chlorophyll. All pigments are present in chloroplasts, which is the site of photosynthesis, and this reaction converts light energy to sugars, which the plant will use as a source of energy.

There are also orange pigments, called carotenoids, which also absorb light energy. Why then, I wondered, do carrots need light absorbing pigments if they grow underground? When I googled this, I half expected the sort of answer that explains the origin of the colour orange, as does this article:

Why are Carrots Orange?What makes carrots orange? The plant pigment that gives carrots and other vegetables their vivid orange colour is beta-carotene. Fruits and Vegetables that…

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Graham says:

    I read somewhere once that carrots were originally purple (as some kinds still are I think) but that over time we engineered them to be orange. Strange indeed. Who says GM crops are a new thing!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dominik says:

      The original carrots were a kind of dark red and were cultivated into the different kinds of carrots we know today.


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