Explaining one thing a week in a sketch

Autumn leaves and the compounds that cause their colours

So we all know the magical green chlorophyll, but leaves also contain carotenoids. As chlorophyll fades the golden oranges of carotenoids start to shine through. You may recognise one carotenoid, beta-carotene, from carrots. Another carotenoid, xanthophyll, is responsible for the beautiful bright yellows. The leaves of some trees also produce anthocyanin as Autumn begins that gives beautiful deep reds.

What a lovely time of year.

Also see: what causes seasons.

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