We finally know why blueberries are so colorful

We finally know why blueberries are so colorful

About the episode

If you squeeze a berry, you won't get juice that's the same blue color. You are likely to see deep red pigments hidden in the peel. Researchers believe this means that the color we see comes from somewhere else. What's going on here?

After careful research, it now appears that the color comes from the structure of the wax layer on the shell. The way the crystals are built in that outer layer ensures that the light that falls on the berry is reflected in a way that makes us and some other animals see it as blue.

Of course they also tried to see if this could be imitated as well. And it really worked. In the laboratory, they created a layer of the wax they harvested. Its thickness is not more than 2 microns. It reflects less well than the real thing, but to us it is clearly blue.

The researchers hope this will allow them to create a new type of paint. It can be sustainable, biocompatible and even edible. It may also be possible to preserve other natural properties of the wax. For example, the layer on the fruit also has a self-cleaning effect.

Read more about the research here: Scientists reveal the reason for the color of blueberries

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