What exactly is the mechanism by which Benedict’s test works for reducing sugars? As I understand it the free hemiacetal groups on reducing sugars opens up and an aldehyde is formed, this is then oxidised by Cu2+ which then results in a red copper(I) oxide.

RCHO + 2 Cu2++ 5 OH- → RCOO- + Cu2O + 3 H2O.

The equation above isn’t really clear to me, what is exactly going on?

Additionally why are alkaline conditions required for the test? And if a red precipitate is formed how come there is such a wealth of colours observed (green, yellow, orange) for varying concentrations of reducing sugars?

Perhaps these are a couple of questions too many :D