DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph (LM) of Lutein (carotenoid) crystals. Lutein is a carotenoid that is a fat-soluble (lipophilic) xanthophyll. It is an oxidized hydroxy derivative of beta-carotene that is a strong antioxidant and is the primary carotenoid pigment present in the central area of the eye retina called the macula. Carotenoids are organic pigments naturally occurring in plants and some other photosynthetic organisms. Carotenoids that have some oxidized double bonds are known as xanthophylls; the un-oxidized carotenoids are known as carotenes. In photosynthetic organisms, carotenoids play a vital role in the photosynthesis. In non-photosynthetic organisms, carotenoids have been linked to oxidation preventing mechanisms. Probably the most well known carotenoid is the one that gives this group its name, carotene, found in carrots and responsible for their bright orange colour. Magnification: x50 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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