As well as being nutritious and delicious, apples are a fruit that can be enjoyed all year round. But some of you may wonder, why are there so many different colors? Well, it all has to do with a little something called: anthocyanin.
The color of apple skins is due to the amount of anthocyanin present in the cells of the apple peel, the more anthocyanin, the redder the apple.
So using the uHandy Microscope, let’s take a peek at the cells in an apple peel, the flesh of an apple, as well as the seeds!
Note: Safety first, adults may wish to assist kids/students with the cutting.
Additionally, we can also look at the flesh of the apple. Cut a thin slice from the apple and place it on the slide to observe it under the Hi-Mag Lens.
Finally, let’s take a look at the apple seeds! There isn’t any preparation necessary for the Lo-Mag Lens, just lean in carefully and observe the outside of the seed. Before using the Hi-Mag Lens, use a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the outer skin of the apple seed and place the skin of the seed on the Circular Slide for observation.
Apples contain two types of pigment cells; one is chlorophyll, which gives apples their green color and the other one is anthocyanin, which gives apples their red color.
Unripe apples are often green in color since there is a higher concentration of chlorophyll, however as the apples ripen and with prolonged exposure to sunlight the chlorophyll begins to break down as the fruit makes more anthocyanin which is what gives apples their red color.
However, green apples are a different variety of apple and the chlorophyll in these types of apples is higher than the anthocyanin, which is what helps these apples keep their green hue as they ripen.
Anthocyanin is most often found in red or purple fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, cranberries, eggplants, etc. Anthocyanin molecules change color based on the pH of their environment. The anthocyanin will turn a dark red the more acidic an environment is, are generally colorless around a pH of 4 or 5, and in an pH greater than 7 they will change to a purple. So, anthocyanin can also be used to measure pH levels!