Astaxanthin is a family member of carotenoid.
Astaxanthin is a red pigment and a member of carotenoid family existing in green and yellow vegetables. It is widely found in nature especially in marine creatures such as crustacean like lobster, and shrimp and fish like salmon and red snapper.
Etymology of astaxanthin.
The first discovery of astaxanthin was in 1938 by Richard Kuhn, the German Biochemist, a winner of Novel prize in Chemistry. He found a red pigment, astaxanthin, from lobster shell and eggs. The etymology of astaxanthin is Astacus (Lobster) and Xanthophyll which astaxanthin is belonging to.
Chemical structure of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin has a unique chemical structure consisting of 13 conjugated double bonds, which is the highest number in carotenoid, and cyclic ring system having keto and hydroxyl groups at the ends.
Astaxanthin acts in both surface and inner area of membrane.
Astaxanthin is a lipophilic molecule but the existence of keto and hydroxyl groups at the ends causes an affinity with a polar site of phospholipids of a membrane surface. It is thought that such physical property enables astaxanthin molecule to exist perpendicular in the lipid bilayer structure of membrane and astaxanthin protects cell membrane against an oxidative attack from outside of membrane as well.