<biochemistry> Accessory lipophilic photosynthetic pigments in plants and bacteria, including carotenes and xanthophylls, red, orange or yellow, with broad absorption peaks at 450-480nm.

Act as secondary light harvesting pigments, passing energy to chlorophyll and as protective agents, preventing photoxidation of chlorophyll. Found in chloroplasts and also in plastids in some nonphotosynthetic tissues, for example carrot root.

This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology

(11 Mar 2008)