Carotenoids pp 189-212 | Cite as

Functions of Intact Carotenoids

  • George Britton
Part of the Carotenoids book series (CAROT, volume 4)


The traditional view that carotenoids are a class of plant pigments does not do justice to their versatility. This versatility will become clear from the overview of the biological roles of carotenoids, in animals and microorganisms as well as in plants, that is given in this Chapter. It has become customary and convenient to differentiate biological effects of carotenoids into functions, actions and associations [1]. ‘Functions’ have been defined as effects or properties that are essential for the normal well-being of the organism. Biological responses that follow the administration of carotenoids in the diet or as supplements are considered as ‘actions’. When an effect is seen but a causal relationship to the carotenoid has not been demonstrated, this is described as an ‘association’. The line between these is often not clear, however.


Singlet Oxygen Natural Membrane Headgroup Region Carotenoid Molecule Erythropoietic Protoporphyria 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Britton
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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