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Monday, November 10, 2008

What are Plant Pigments

Plant pigments are colorful, chemical compounds present in plants that are responsible for the colors of plants. Not only do they reflect certain wavelengths of visible light to give them color, but they also absorb certain wavelengths of light for photosynthesis. There are many different types of plant pigments, but the most common are chlorophylls, which give plants their green color and convert light energy into chemical energy. Carotenoids are usually yellow, red or orange and help fuel photosynthesis. Carotenoids are great antioxidants and promote healthy eyesight. Flavonoids can be red or blue or even white or pale yellow – there are many different pigments from anthocyanins (blue) to betalains (yellow or red). Some are water-soluble and some are not. Pigments play many different roles, from attracting our visual attention and the attention of pollinators, to providing us with vitamins and nutrients.

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