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Fall Colors Essay

772 words - 4 pages

Fall is the time of the year when days get shorter, weather gets colder, and the leaves change color. For me, this symbolizes the beauty of fall. When the leaves change color, an array of beautiful colors on the trees such as red, orange, yellow, and brown unfold. The leaves on the trees already contain these colorful pigments, but chlorophyll, which is the pigment that makes the leaves green, dominates throughout the spring and summer. (news.nationalgeographic.com/news/pf/87538674.html) Without chlorophyll, photosynthesis could not occur. Photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplasts of the leaf cells. The process of photosynthesis occurs when chlorophyll, a pigment in the chloroplast, absorbs light energy. The light energy, along with water, allows the plant to produce ATP. The ATP is the energy that the plant uses to put carbon dioxide and water to make glucose. Throughout the warm days, the leaves use photosynthesis to convert light energy into food. When the days get shorter and colder, the leaves stop producing chlorophyll and get to show their beautiful, hidden colors.

Why isn’t chlorophyll a primary pigment in the fall? In the summer and spring, green chlorophyll is the main pigment that helps the plants absorb light energy and turn it into food. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1005_041008_fallfoliage.html ) In the summer you see green, but accessory pigments xanthophylls, carotene,and in some trees, anthocyanins are still there. Accessory pigments transfer light energy to chlorophyll. In trees, you do not see the pigments until the fall because they stop making chlorophyll. Like a bear, trees also hibernate in the winter. The cold weather and shorter days spark a chemical reaction in the leaves and this causes the leaf to form a breakable, cork like wall between the stem and the leaf stalk called the abscission layer. This layer stops the nutrients and water from being able to enter the leaf, and the chlorophyll dies. (www.almanac.com/content/fall-foliage-why-do-autumn-leaves-change-color.) Once chlorophyll is no longer the main pigment, xanthophylls and carotenes shine through. Xantho is greek for yellow, so xanthophylls gives plants their yellow pigment, and carotene gives plants their orange pigment. Not only is carotene found in plants, but it is also found in egg yolks and carrots. It is what gives them...

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