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any of three yellow or orange fat-soluble pigments having the formula C 40 H 56 , found in many plants, especially carrots, and transformed to vitamin A in the liver; provitamin A.
any of four orange-red isomers of an unsaturated hydrocarbon present in many plants (β-carotene is the orange pigment of carrots) and converted to vitamin A in the liver. Formula: C40H56

hydrocarbon found in carrots and other plants, 1861, from German carotin, coined 1831 by German chemist H.W.F. Wackenroder (1789-1854) from Latin carota “carrot” (see carrot) + German form of chemical suffix -ine (2), denoting a hydrocarbon.

carotene car·o·tene (kār’ə-tēn’) or car·o·tin (-tĭn)
An orange-yellow to red crystalline pigment that exists in three isomeric forms designated alpha, beta, and gamma; it is converted to vitamin A in the liver and is found in animal tissue and certain plants, such as carrots and squash.
Any of various organic compounds that occur as orange-yellow to red pigments in many plants and in animal tissue. In plant leaves, carotenes aid in the absorption of light energy by transferring the energy to chlorophyll and act as antioxidants protecting chlorophyll from damage by oxidation. In animals, carotenes are converted to vitamin A primarily in the liver. They are members of the carotenoid family of compounds and give plants such as carrots, pumpkins, and dandelions their characteristic color. Chemical formula: C40H56. See also xanthophyll.


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  • Carotenemia

    carotenemia carotenemia car·o·te·ne·mi·a (kār’ə-tən-ē’mē-ə) n. The presence of excess carotene in the blood, often resulting in yellowing of the skin. Also called xanthemia.

  • Carotenoid

    any of a group of red and yellow pigments, chemically similar to carotene, contained in animal fat and some plants. similar to carotene. pertaining to carotenoids. noun any of a group of red or yellow pigments, including carotenes, found in plants and certain animal tissues adjective of or resembling carotene or a carotenoid n. 1913, […]

  • Carotenosis cutis

    carotenosis cutis carotenosis cutis car·o·te·no·sis cu·tis (kār’ətən-ō’sĭs kyōō’tĭs) n. A yellow or golden coloration of the skin caused by an excessive intake of carotene. Also called aurantiasis cutis.

  • Carothers

    Wallace Hume, 1896–1937, U.S. chemist: associated with the invention of synthetic nylon material. Contemporary Examples Yet, says Carothers, “his view was not driving U.S. policy towards Egypt.” Obama and the State Department’s Challenge in Egypt Tara McKelvey May 26, 2012 Carothers (kə-rŭ’ərz) American chemist who developed the synthetic material nylon, which was patented in 1937.

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