Accessory Pigments: Accessory pigments aid in the absorption of more light by plants. Plants must produce these accessory pigments in order to optimize the amount of photosynthesis they can do. More pigments = more glucose or plant food!
Accessory pigments are also important for protecting plants' photosynthetic machinery from damage caused by excess light. For example, plants use carotenoids to protect their chloroplasts - the site where photosynthesis takes place - against destructive photons called "ultraviolet A" (UVA) rays. The UVA radiation found near the surface of the earth is not harmful; it's actually good for you! It's only when plants are exposed to high levels of UVA radiation that they begin to suffer damage to their photosynthetic machinery.
Some plants have evolved ways to protect themselves by creating UV-absorbing compounds that function like accessory pigments. These protective compounds include flavonoids and lutein+zeaxanthin. Flavonoids are chemicals found in many fruits and vegetables that have strong antioxidant properties. They can be divided into three groups based on their chemical structure: flavones, flavanols (catechins), and anthocyanidins.
Light-absorbing molecules present in photosynthetic organisms that function in tandem with chlorophyll an are known as accessory pigments. Some of these accessory pigments, particularly carotenoids, absorb and disperse excess light energy or function as antioxidants. Other accessory pigments include phycobilins and chlorophyll derivatives. Accessory pigments play a role in protecting plants' photosystems from damage caused by excessive light exposure.
They contain different types of this pigment, such as chlorophyll b in green algae and higher plant antennae, and chlorophyll c or d in other algae. The main purpose of these pigments is to increase the absorption of light by the chloroplasts, thus increasing the efficiency of photosynthesis.
In addition to their role in photosynthesis, accessory pigments also have other functions including protection against UV radiation, free radical detoxification, and even signaling within the cell. These compounds are also important for coloration of plants and algae. In fact, some species are able to change the ratio of these pigments to match their environment. For example, when algae grow in bright sunlight they can produce more chlorophyll a which leads to red coloring while under dark conditions they produce more chlorophyll b which results in green coloring.
Algae are simple plants that lack roots, vascular tissue, and therefore cannot obtain water and nutrients from the soil. However, they are still able to absorb certain elements from the environment including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These elements are needed for healthy growth and reproduction of algae but cannot be used by any other organism so they must be absorbed by algae itself.
Algae can use either photosynthesis or chemosynthesis for energy production.
What exactly are accessory pigments? Accessory pigments have a slightly different chemical structure than chlorophyll a, which allows them to absorb different hues of light throughout the spectrum. Because chlorophyll b and c reflect different colors of green light, leaves and plants are not all the same color. Leaves and plants with more of one type of pigment will tend to be darker green, while those with more of another type will be lighter in hue.
Accessory pigments are also important for photosynthesis because they allow plants to use various wavelengths of light more efficiently. For example, red light has a shorter wavelength than blue light, but it is less useful for photosynthetic processes. So, plants have evolved ways to use both red and blue lights to carry out photosynthesis as effectively as possible. They do this by combining chlorophyll a with either b or c, depending on the plant species. For example, some plants show an increased ability to use red light energy by producing more chlorophyll b than chlorophyll a.
Another reason why plants need accessory pigments is that their chloroplasts contain only a limited amount of chlorophyll. If all the chlorophyll was used up, then there would be no way for the plant to make new cells or grow new tissues. So, accessory pigments play an essential role in allowing plants to produce more energy through the process of photosynthesis while using only a fraction of their total supply of chlorophyll.