noun, plural: xanthophylls

A type of carotenoid in which its molecular structure contains oxygen


Accessory pigments are non-chlorophyll pigments within the chloroplasts of photoautotrophs. They help in absorbing other light energy essential during the light reactions of photosynthesis. There are two major types of accessory pigments in plants and they are carotenoids and phycobilins. Carotenoids are accessory pigments that are typically yellow, red and orange. They are insoluble in water in contrast to phycobilins that are water-soluble. They occur in chloroplasts where they aid in the light absorption for photosynthesis. They are also found in chromoplasts. There are various carotenoids and they are grouped into xanthophylls and carotenes.

Xanthophylls are carotenoids that occur widely in nature. They are yellow pigments; thus, this accounts for their name, 'xanthophyll', which is derived from Greek xanthos- (yellow) and phyllon (leaf). Xanthophylls are found in young as well as in etiolated leaves. They are also found in papaya, peaches, prunes, etc.1 Examples of xanthophylls are lutein, zeaxanthin, neoxanthin, violaxanthin, flavoxanthin, and α- and β-cryptoxanthin.


See also:

1 'Xanthophyll. Retrieved from [[1]].

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