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Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems$
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Thomas S. Bianchi and Elizabeth A. Canuel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134147

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134147.001.0001

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Photosynthetic Pigments: Chlorophylls, Carotenoids, and Phycobilins

Photosynthetic Pigments: Chlorophylls, Carotenoids, and Phycobilins

(p.221) 12. Photosynthetic Pigments: Chlorophylls, Carotenoids, and Phycobilins
Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems

Thomas S. Bianchi

Elizabeth A. Canuel

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the primary photosynthetic pigments used in absorbing photosynthetically active radiation, which include chlorophylls, carotenoids, and phycobilins—with chlorophyll representing the dominant photosynthetic pigment. Although a greater amount of chlorophyll is found on land, 75% of the annual global turnover occurs in oceans, lakes, and rivers/estuaries. All of the light-harvesting pigments are bound to proteins making up distinct carotenoid and chlorophyll-protein complexes. The chapter considers the chemistry and application of these very important chemical biomarkers and discusses their limitations in aquatic systems. The matrix factorization program CHEMical TAXonomy (CHEMTAX) was introduced to calculate the relative abundance of major algal groups based on concentrations of diagnostic pigments and is also discussed.

Keywords:   photosynthetically active radiation, photosynthetic pigments, biomarkers, chlorophylls, carotenoids, phycobilins, CHEMical TAXonomy

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