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Plant Pigment

Additional Plant Pigments

Phycobilins are water soluble photosynthetic pigments. They are not present in higher plants, but do occur in red algae and the cyanobacteria, a group of photosynthetic bacteria.

Betalains are red or yellow pigments which are synthesized by plants in ten different families. Interestingly, none of the species which have betalains also produce anthocyanins, even though these two pigments are unrelated.

Flavins are orange-yellow pigments often associated with proteins. Some flavins are specialized for control of phototropism and other developmental responses of plants. Like phytochrome, flavins occur in low concentrations and cannot be seen unless purified.

Rhodopsin is a pigment which controls light-regulated movements, such as phototaxis and photokinesis, in many species of algae. Interestingly, humans and many other animals also use rhodopsin for vision.



Corner, E J. The Life of Plants. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Galston, A.W. Life Processes of Plants: Mechanisms for Survival. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman Press, 1993.

Kaufman, P.B., et al. Plants: Their Biology and Importance. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.

Wilkins, M. Plant Watching. New York: Facts on File, 1988.

Peter A. Ensminger


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—Green organelle in higher plants and algae in which photosynthesis occurs.


—Five-carbon molecule with the chemical formula CH2C(CH3)CHCH2.


—Membrane-enclosed structure within a cell which has specific functions.


—Biological conversion of light energy into chemical energy.


—Organelle surrounded by a double membrane which may be specialized for photosynthesis (chloroplast), storage of pigments (chromoplast) or other functions.


—Membrane-enclosed structure within cells which store pigments, water, nutrients, and wastes.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Planck mass to PositPlant Pigment - Absorption Of Radiation, Chlorophylls, Carotenoids, Flavonoids, Phytochrome, Additional Plant Pigments