Xanthophyll – an underrated pigment

by Prithvi Saravanabawan

The exponential increase in deforestation rate in the past decade has resulted in the loss of many flora in India. Though many people are addressing the loss of various exotic trees and the extinction of various insects and animals, it is also integral to assess damage taken by the environment due to the loss of many natural pigments such as xanthophyll, carotenoid, anthocyanin, etc. caused by deforestation. At first, these pigments might seem insignificant but they, like everything, also play an important role in maintaining balance in the environment. Furthermore, people have constituted a paradigm that dictates that less known things are less important. Consequently, leading other people to think that pigments that are less known such as xanthophyll and carotenoid are of less significance. Hence this article aims at providing empirical evidence that the less known pigments hold equal ecological value as the well known pigments like chlorophyll.

Firstly, the Xanthophylls are a part of a plethora of oxygen-containing carotenoid pigments. Also, Xanthophyll encapsulates colours from the red, yellow and orange spectrum. In addition, these pigments are present and responsible for the colouration in a wide array of fruits and vegetables. Apart from this, these pigments are also responsible for the colouration in various other animal products like meat, egg yolk, feathers, shells, etc. Xanthophyll functions by absorbing the blue light to protect the plants and microorganisms from photodamage. Also, it helps the plants accumulate light energy intended for photosynthesis. Hence, the less known natural pigments play a vital yet subtle role in maintaining ecological balance 

Secondly, from a psychological perspective, the colours orange, yellow and red which are encapsulated in the xanthophyll pigment represents feeling of excitement, warmth and enthusiasm. Moreover, the colour orange is originally considered as an energetic colour. Furthermore, the color orange is used in several types of psychotherapy and art therapy to help alleviate psychological trauma. Furthermore, there is no refusing the fact that the orange in the xanthophyll pigment developed naturally is a gift for us from nature. Nevertheless, just because xanthophyll is less known it does not give equal ecological stature as ubiquitous pigments such as chlorophyll.

In conclusion, because of the inadequate awareness of the people, deforestation is escalating on a daily basis. Consequently, nature is stripped of exotic trees, animals and rare yet essential pigments. Also, the root cause of this problem is the existence of people with inadequate awareness about the ecosystem. Consequently, raising awareness is an obvious but the most effective way to solve this problem. In order to solve this crux in our hands we have to think not just about ourselves but as a species.


Tripathi, Shibu. “India Lost 14% Tree Cover Amid Covid, Rainforest Destruction Up 12% In 2020”. Business-Standard.Com, 2021, https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/india-lost-14-tree-cover-amid-covid-rainforest-destruction-up-12-in-2020-121040200371_1.html. Accessed 25 July 2021.

“Xanthophyll – An Overview | Sciencedirect Topics”. Sciencedirect.Com, 2021, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/xanthophyll. Accessed 25 July 2021.

“How Does Orange Influence Your Moods?”. Verywell Mind, 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/the-color-psychology-of-orange-2795818. Accessed 25 July 2021.

Published by LakesOfIndia

Lakes of India is an E.F.I initiative aimed at sensitizing the larger public on freshwater habitats across the country. A blog platform where one can read about lakes across India. You can become a guest blogger to write about a lake in your hometown and initiate an action to protect that lake.

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