Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 265–277 | Cite as

Carotenoids inGallus domesticus

Comparative analysis of blood and retina of chickens and of egg-yolk
  • Harald Stransky
  • Inge Schulze


The qualitative and quantitative composition of carotenoids in the yolk as well as in the blood and the retina of one-day-old chicks was determined. Identification of carotenoids was performed by chemical microreactions after purification by thin-layer chromatography.

The yolk and the blood yielded 83.6% and 90.5%, respectively, of the total carotenoids in the form of lutein and zeaxanthin. In the retina these pigments amount only to 5.5% of the total carotenoids. The following carotenoids were found exclusively in the retina: astancene (66%), phoenicoxanthin (15.6%), galloxanthin (4.4%) and, in addition, four unidentified carotenoids (5%) all with an absorbance maximum in the region of 400 nm in ethanol. Furthermore, small amounts of cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and neochrome were extracted from the retina.

At the time of hatching only 5% of total yolk carotenoids can be detected in the blood. In the retina, pigments are specifically modified and deposited in oil-droplets. It was possible to assign the pigments to different types of droplets according to their cut-off wavelengths.

A comparison of the relative amounts of different pigments with those of the corresponding oil droplets indicated that the red droplets contain a 10-fold higher concentration than any other type.


Chromatography Retina Carotenoid Human Physiology Lutein 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harald Stransky
    • 1
  • Inge Schulze
    • 2
  1. 1.Botanisches Institut der Universität MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Zoologisches Institut der Universität MünsterMünsterGermany

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