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Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 96, Issue 8, pp 989–991 | Cite as

Hepatic conversion of red carotenoids in passerine birds

  • Esther del Val
  • Juan Carlos Senar
  • Juan Garrido-Fernández
  • Manuel Jarén
  • Antoni Borràs
  • Josep Cabrera
  • Juan José Negro
Comments & Replies

Identifying the metabolically active sites for derived carotenoids that colour avian feathers and determining whether or not different species may use different mechanisms of colour production are crucial for understanding the evolution of the ornament. However, the role of liver versus follicles, the two candidate sites suggested by previous authors, remains contentious (McGraw 2009; del Val et al. 2009).

The absence of certain carotenoids in the food of some red-coloured birds led to the proposal that the liver, as the most active metabolic site in any vertebrate, was the organ where those non-dietary carotenoids were metabolised (see del Val et al. 2009 and references therein). The fact that several studies failed to find traces of metabolically derived plumage carotenoids in liver and plasma (Stradi 1998; Inouye 1999; McGraw 2004) led to the hypothesis that some colourful passerines might convert some red pigments directly in the skin. However, no conclusive studies confirming the...

Keywords

Carotenoid Biliverdin Potential Food Source Dietary Carotenoid Young Needle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material

114_2009_554_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (24 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 23 kb)

References

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther del Val
    • 1
  • Juan Carlos Senar
    • 1
  • Juan Garrido-Fernández
    • 2
  • Manuel Jarén
    • 2
  • Antoni Borràs
    • 1
  • Josep Cabrera
    • 1
  • Juan José Negro
    • 3
  1. 1.Behavioural & Evolutionary Ecology Associate Research Unit (CSIC)Natural History MuseumBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Food Biotechnology DepartmentInstituto de la Grasa (CSIC)SevilleSpain
  3. 3.Department of Evolutionary EcologyEstación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)SevilleSpain

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