#50, Chlorophyll

Just some trivia about the leaves of colours! Something I just learnt cos I was looking up something on Photosynthesis.

Autumn Color Change :)

When leaves appear green, it is because they contain an abundance of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll masks other pigment colors. Anthocyanins, in turn, mask carotenoids. As summer turns to autumn, decreasing light levels cause chlorophyll production to slow. However, the decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color will fade from the leaves. At the same time, anthocyanin production in leaves increases, in response to surging sugar concentrations. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange. Leaves with carotenoids but little or no anthocyanins will appear yellow.

However, in the absence of these pigments, other plant chemicals also can affect leaf color. An example includes tannins, which are responsible for the brownish color of some oak leaves.

Note that light is not needed in order for a plant to produce carotenoids, therefore these pigments are always present in a living plant. Also, carotenoids decompose very slowly as compared to chlorophyll.

Credits to http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/aa082602a.htm

I guess colour change does not only occur in countries with autumn, even in Singapore we do see this occuring. It's commonplace for deciduous trees.

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