Astaxanthin in the Cedar Waxwing

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Science  04 Oct 1963:
Vol. 142, Issue 3588, pp. 47-48
DOI: 10.1126/science.142.3588.47


The pigment on the secondary feathers of the cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is deposited as an amorphous layer upon a supporting medullary structure. The pigment was extracted with alkali and analyzed by chromatographic and spectrophotometric methods. The results indicate that the pigment is astacene (3,3',4,4'-tetra-keto-β-carotene), the oxidation product of astaxanthin.