Polyenes are poly-unsaturated
Saturation (chemistry)
In chemistry, saturation has six different meanings, all based on reaching a maximum capacity...

 organic compound
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

s that contain one or more sequences of alternating double and single carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

-carbon bonds. These double carbon-carbon bonds interact in a process known as conjugation
Conjugated system
In chemistry, a conjugated system is a system of connected p-orbitals with delocalized electrons in compounds with alternating single and multiple bonds, which in general may lower the overall energy of the molecule and increase stability. Lone pairs, radicals or carbenium ions may be part of the...

, which results in an overall lower energy state of the molecule.

Organic compounds with two carbon-carbon double bonds are diene
In organic chemistry a diene or diolefin is a hydrocarbon that contains two carbon double bonds.Conjugated dienes are functional groups, with a general formula of CnH2n-2. Dienes and alkynes are functional isomers...

; those with three such double bonds are trienes; those with four are tetraenes, etc.

Normally carbon-carbon double bonds which are not conjugated or only conjugated with only one or two other carbon-carbon double bonds have high enough energy that they absorb in the ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

 region of a spectrum
Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy
Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy or ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry refers to absorption spectroscopy or reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet-visible spectral region. This means it uses light in the visible and adjacent ranges...

, but the absorption energy state of polyenes with numerous conjugated double bonds can be lowered such that they enter the visible region of the spectrum, resulting in compounds which are colored yellow or other colors.

Many fatty acid
Fatty acid
In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid with a long unbranched aliphatic tail , which is either saturated or unsaturated. Most naturally occurring fatty acids have a chain of an even number of carbon atoms, from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are usually derived from...

s are polyenes, and many dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

s contain linear polyenes. Other examples of polyene compounds include beta-carotene
β-Carotene is a strongly-coloured red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. It is an organic compound and chemically is classified as a hydrocarbon and specifically as a terpenoid , reflecting its derivation from isoprene units...

, which is yellow to orange colored depending on concentration, and polyene antimycotic
Polyene antimycotic
Polyene antimycotics, sometimes referred to as polyene antibiotics, are a class of antimicrobial polyene compounds that target fungi. These polyene antimycotics are typically obtained from some species of Streptomyces bacteria. The polyenes bind to ergosterol in the fungal cell membrane and...

s, some of which are yellow colored.
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