Carotenoids are critical for photosynthetic function in chloroplasts, and are essential for the formation of the prolamellar body in the etioplasts of dark-grown (etiolated) seedlings. By McMahon, M. J., Kofranek, A. M., & Rubatzky, V. E. (2011). Besides performing the roles of a photoprotectorant and light-harvesting pigments, carotenoids have additional biological functions. What would happen if flamingos were fed a diet with no carotenoids? They reflect mostly red and orange light. Second, they can protect plants which are over-exposed to sunlight. “Carotenoids.” Biology Dictionary. Large amounts of beta-carotene from food, however, do not seem to carry this risk; the worst they can do is temporarily turn your skin orange, according to the National Institutes of Health. Carotenes are responsible for the color of everything from carrots to sweet potatoes to cantaloupe. Carotenoids are naturally synthesized by cyanobacteria, algae, plants, some fungi, and some bacteria, but not made by mammals. In a large-scale European study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that participants who developed inflammatory polyarthritis had 40 percent less beta-crytpxanthin than those who did not. A. These pigments produce the bright yellow, red, and orange colors in plants, vegetables, and fruits. Early studies suggested that beta-carotene was associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer, according to a review published in the Journal of Nutrition. Lycopene is also associated with reduced prostate cancer risk. Alpha-carotene produces half the vitamin A that beta-carotene does. The study of carotenoids from chemical structure elucidation to molecular biology has been ongoing for over 120 years (Britton et al., 2017).The chemistry and biochemistry of carotenoids and carotenoid enzymes has been recently reviewed (Moise et al., 2014; Rodriguez-Concepcion et al., 2018).Chemical structural variation is the foundation for carotenoid functional diversity in plants and … Jessie Szalay - Live Science Contributor It can be a source of vitamin A, but it produces half as much as beta-carotene. Vitamin A is an important component to human health. Xanthophylls also give color to fruits and vegetables like papaya, squash, and peaches. Nutritionally, there is another, potentially more useful, grouping of carotenoids: provitamin A and non-provitamin A. Provitamin A carotenoids can be turned into vitamin A (retinol) in the intestine or liver. They help protect the retina from blue and ultraviolet light, which tends to cause radical ions in the tissue. Premkumar noted that lutein could also be good for the heart. The correlation between high levels of alpha-carotene and a lower risk of death from diabetes and lower respiratory disease were especially high. Carotenes, as an accessory pigment, work by transferring the energy they gather from light into chlorophyll, which can then be used to store energy in the form of glucose. Besides acting as photoprotectors of the photosynthetic apparatus, carotenoids function in several other capacities: (1) As light-harvesting pigments supplementing the light capturing ability of Chl in regions of the visible spectrum where Chl is not a very efficient absorber [16-20]. It has a red-orange coloration when isolated. Carotenoids are plant pigments responsible for bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables. Scientists suspect this is the result of beta-carotene’s antioxidant activities. While animals cannot produce these carotenoids, they have important biochemical functions, and serve as precursors to many molecules. Carotenoids, like other antioxidants, have some protective effects against certain cancers. “Carotenoids.”, Biologydictionary.net Editors. Approximately 600 unique carotenoids can be found in plant species, as well as select species of algae and fungi. Accessory pigments like the carotenoids are used for a variety of reasons in plants. The lycopene in tomatoes is absorbed much more easily if the tomatoes are cooked, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Beta-carotene is the most common carotene found in plants. In recent years, the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway in higher plants including Arabidopsis, maize, rice, potato, tomato and canola has successfully been engineered through transgenic approaches. It would be able to absorb a wider range of specific frequencies B. Photosynthesis would break down C. Carotenoids essentially do nothing for the plant, Biologydictionary.net Editors. This is because the chlorophyll degrades as there is less light available. The researchers advised that a modest increase in beta-cryptoxanthin, such as a glass of orange juice a day, could be helpful in preventing arthritis. References 10. Some are used to collect different wavelengths of light than the primary pigment, chlorophyll. Other carotenoids are used to take energy from chlorophyll as it becomes excited by light, and pass the energy down the chain. There are at least five different roles carotenoids are thought to play in photosynthesis (2). Considering the importance of carotenoids for industry, human health and plant development, emphasis has been given to targeted manipulation of carotenoid biosynthesis in higher plants. A. Carotenoids are unique in that their diversity of function is unmatched by any of the other classes of pigments found in photosynthetic organisms (1). 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