You are busy eating your food when a spoonful of curry falls on your white shirt. You decide to go home and wash it. The moment you dip the shirt in soap water, the stain turns red. You are horrified! How come the otherwise yellow coloured stain turned red the moment it came in contact with the soap?
Everyday Chemistry - Why Does Turmeric Turn Red?
Almost every Indian delicacy has Turmeric giving it the yellow tinge we love. Have you ever spilt some of this on your clothes while cooking? And then tried to wash it with water? The moment you dip the cloth in soap water, the stain turns red. Do you know why this change in chemical occurs? Let's find out!
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric has been cultivated in India and other countries for the past 2500 years. It was introduced to China by India in 700 AD. Slowly and gradually, other countries started cultivating turmeric. It is an Indian spice, which is made by grinding the roots of Curcuma Longa plant or curcumin. It is yellow in colour and adds special flavour and colour to the food. It also acts as an excellent antibiotic. The curcumin content in turmeric helps fight infections.
What happens when turmeric comes in contact with detergent?
Turmeric has a pigment known as xanthophylls, which lends the yellow colour to it. It also has a pigment called as carotene, which is reddish orange in colour. When turmeric comes in contact with detergent, it reacts with the fatty acids present in the detergent and hence the carotene pigment gets more active than the xanthophylls and turmeric turns red. When turmeric is combined with any base liquid like soap it turns red in colour while when turmeric comes in contact with any substance like that of vinegar, that is acidic in nature, it turns yellow.
Here is an interesting video on how turmeric changes its colour when it comes in contact with base substance and an acidic substance:
Turmeric is known as the best healer is used in many antiseptic creams and skin creams. You definitely remember the ads of 'Vicco Turmeric'. Research also shows that turmeric helps in aiding fat loss and helps in weight management and more research is being done to see how it helps cure illnesses like cancer.
Here is an interesting video on benefits of turmeric:
Besides being beneficial to mankind, it's also an interesting object to study. So add turmeric to your food and keep up the spice in your life!