DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph (LM) of Beta-carotene crystals. Carotenes are un-oxidized carotenoid pigments from the terpene group. They are orange colored pigments, important in photosynthesis where they transmit the energy they absorb to chlorophyll pigments. Carotene is the dimer of vitamin A and comes in two forms alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Both types can be stored in the liver, and unlike vitamin A, excess carotene is non-toxic and can also be converted to vitamin A as needed. Beta-carotene is a provitamin A carotenoid that is more efficiently converted to vitamin A than other carotenoids. Beta-carotene is necessary for proper growth and repair of body tissues; helps maintain healthy skin; helps protect the mucous membranes thereby reducing susceptibility to infections; protects against air pollutants; counteracts night-blindness and weak eyesight; and aids in bone and teeth formation. Magnification: x40 when shortest axis printed at 25.
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