Encyclopedia of Lipidomics

Living Edition
| Editors: Markus R. Wenk

Xanthophylls in Plants: Functional Diversity of

  • Franz Hadacek
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7864-1_134-2


Xanthophylls Xanthophylls represent oxygenized carotenoids and tetraterpenoid pigments that occur in the leaves of all plants.

Structure and Occurrence

Xanthophylls comprise the oxygenated derivatives of carotenoids (C 40 tetraterpenoids; see “ Carotenoids in Plants”) and occur in the leaves of all plants. Most are colored, and common are lutein, violaxanthin, and its conversion product neoxanthin that is a precursor of the important plant hormone abscisic acid (Fig. 1a). Three xanthophylls, violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, and zeaxanthin, undergo rapid light-induced concentration changes that are known as the xanthophyll cycle and protect the photosynthetic apparatus against excessive light (Fig. 1b). Rearrangement of these structures can lead to the formation of red pigments, e.g., in pepper in that of capsorubin and capsanthin (Fig. 1c). Xanthophylls can be cleaved site-specifically into different apocarotenoids, some of which have gained important metabolic functions, such...


Xanthophyll Cycle Epoxidation Reaction Zeaxanthin Epoxidase Saturate Light Intensity Variable Light Condition 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Biochemistry, Albrecht-von-Haller-Institute for Plant SciencesGeorg-August-University GoettingenGoettingenGermany