The Chemistry of Dietary Chlorophylls
Ma, L. and David Dolphin
Chlorophylls, the green pigments responsible for photosynthesis in plants, algae and bacteria, are also part of the daily diet of herbivorous feeders. Numerous metabolic derivatives of the major green pigment, chlorophyll-a, have been found in a wide variety of organisms during the last decade. Studies of these metabolites show that some are antioxidants or cellular signaling mediators in vivo. The metabolites of bacterio-chlorophylls-c and d, recently found in the deep-sea dragon fish, Malacosteus niger, function as a visual photosensitizer, enabling the fish to seek their prey in ‘the dark'. Discovery of these metabolites as well as their interesting biological functions raises questions as to the roles of chlorophyll derivatives in the chemical ecology of herbivorous life forms.