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Scientists solve mystery of the purple orange


Posted on Sunday, 30 September, 2018 | Comment icon 5 comments

Would you eat an orange that has turned purple ? Image Credit: Neti Moffitt
Scientists in Australia have been investigating what caused an otherwise normal orange to turn purple.
The peculiar incident occurred earlier this month in Brisbane when a woman, Neti Moffitt, reported that the leftover segments of an orange her son had been eating had turned a disconcerting indigo color.

The case prompted concerns of a public health risk and a detailed laboratory analysis was carried out.

"It looks like someone's dipped it on an ink pad, which I guarantee you we haven't," said Moffitt. "My first thought was I hope it has had no ill effect on my child. But he's fine, absolutely not a drama."

It turned out that the reason the orange had turned purple was because anthocyanins - a naturally occurring antioxidant in oranges - had reacted to iron particles in the knife used to slice it up.

Health authorities were quick to reassure the public that the fruit posed no risk to human health.

"We see samples that range from blood, urine, water, soil, fish and foodstuffs," said Queensland Health's chief chemist Stewart Carswell.

"So to have an orange come through was really different for our team."

Source: BBC News | Comments (5)

Tags: Orange, Purple

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by fred_mc on 30 September, 2018, 19:16
It probably wanted to be a blood orange ;-) .
Comment icon #2 Posted by pallidin on 1 October, 2018, 1:47
I'm not sure how, but surely this confirms that the Earth is flat.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Seti42 on 1 October, 2018, 5:47
You forgot the key part of the story. The knife was recently sharpened, and not wiped down afterwards. That's how it was able to leave particles of metal on the orange. That's also why oranges don't always turn purple when you cut one up.
Comment icon #4 Posted by TripGun on 1 October, 2018, 12:55
She should be more worried that the child won't have a lasting brain affliction from her lack of clean practices.
Comment icon #5 Posted by UFOwatcher on 2 October, 2018, 14:38
Not fooling me... That orange on the left is an AR15.


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