Biological Pigments can also be called in simple as Biochromes or Pigments. These are the substances which are produced by the living organisms and have a color which results from the color absorption techniques.
Pigments are the set of compounds that have an intense color and are used in the coloring of other materials. These are insoluble substances and are sometimes applied as ground particles in solid form with the liquids. We come across various kinds of Biological pigments in plants as well as animals.
Pigments are of two types namely organic and inorganic pigments. The organic pigments are made from some of the natural sources, whereas the synthetic organic pigments are derived from the coal tars and some of the other form of petrochemicals. Most of the inorganic pigments are synthesized by a relatively simpler form of chemical reactions such as oxidation.
Pigments are the chemical substances which reflect few wavelengths of the visible light making them appear colorful. Plants, flowers and even the skin of animals have the pigments that give them a specific color. All these chemical compounds have the capacity to absorb some wavelengths.
Pigment Types in Plants
Plants have a unique property of capturing the light energy and convert it into sugars through the process called photosynthesis. The process starts with the absorption of light energy by some specialized form of organic molecules, called the pigments. The photosynthesis process makes use of the green pigment called chlorophyll along with some other form of yellow and red pigments.
Some of the other plant pigments include porphyrins, carotenoids, betalains, anthocyanins, etc. All these pigments stimulate the process of chemical reactions by reflecting the wavelengths. The plant pigments are given below-
Chlorophyll is one of the main pigment in the green plants. The green coloring of the plant leaves is due to the pigment called chlorophyll. The chlorophyll pigment is of various kinds such as a, b, c, d, p. All the green plants, cyanobacteria, algae have the pigment chlorophyll “a”. The chlorophyll pigment b is found in most of the green algae.
Carotenoids are the pigments in the form of orange, red, yellow colors. These compounds are insoluble in water and are attached to the membranes of the cell bodies. These Biomolecules are antioxidants which promote a good eyesight in the humans.
Anthocyanins are a kind of flavonoid pigments meaning “flower blue”. These pigments are present in all the tissues of the higher group of plants providing color in stem, leaves, roots, fruits, and flowers.
Flavonoids are a kind of yellow pigments that are seen in lemons and oranges. The plastids and cytoplasm in plants consist of this pigment flavonoid. These are the chemicals that help to lower the cholesterol levels and have the antioxidant properties.
Some of the pigments are extracted and utilized as dyes. The pigments such as lycopene and astaxanthin are used as a dietary supplement in most of the foods.