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why is iodine called an indicator

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An indicator is a substance that will tell you something about the compound you are testing. Indicators can tell you if a certain type of molecule is present, help you determine pH, and figure out other physical properties. Most indicators give results through some type of color change.

Iodine is in an indicator because it changes color when it interacts with starch. When iodine changes from yellow to navy blue, it lets you know that starch is present in whatever solution you are testing.

Iodine only changes to navy blue in the presence of starch. Even simple sugars, like glucose, do not cause a color change in iodine. Iodine interacts with the large starch molecules, but ignores the single sugars. This is why it is so effective for determining if starch is present or absent.
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