as·​ta·​xan·​thin | \ ˌa-stə-ˈzan(t)-thən How to pronounce astaxanthin (audio) \

Definition of astaxanthin

: a carotenoid pigment C40H52O4 found in red- or pink-colored aquatic organisms (such as shrimp, lobster, and salmon) and the feathers of some birds that is used especially as a food coloring and dietary supplement Wild salmon attain their color by absorbing a carotenoid called astaxanthin from their krill-based diet, while farmed salmon eat fish feed supplemented with various sources of astaxanthin to enhance their grayish color.Cook's Illustrated Astaxanthin is found in many marine animals, like shrimp and fish, and is also responsible for the pink color of flamingos that feed on crustaceans rich in the pigment.— C. Claiborne Ray

Examples of astaxanthin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Studies have shown that long-term supplementation with astaxanthin may help slow skin aging via its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 Lobster coloring is all thanks to a pigment called astaxanthin. Robinson Russell, National Geographic, "Why This Rare Lobster Is Colored Like Blue Cotton Candy," 19 June 2018 But inside the shell proteins bind the astaxanthin. Robinson Russell, National Geographic, "Why This Rare Lobster Is Colored Like Blue Cotton Candy," 19 June 2018 Some points: Canthaxanthin and astaxanthin are carotenes produced by algae, which are eaten by shrimp. Wired Staff, WIRED, "Rants & Raves," 1 Apr. 2004

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'astaxanthin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of astaxanthin

1939, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for astaxanthin

borrowed from German, from Astacin, an oxidation product of astaxanthin (from New Latin Astacus, genus including Astacus gammarus, the European lobster—now Homarus gammarus— + German -in -in entry 1) + Xanthin "carotenoid pigment," from Greek xanthós "yellow" + German -in -in entry 1; Astacus going back to Latin, "lobster or crayfish," borrowed from Greek astakós, ostakós, of uncertain origin — more at xantho-

Note: The name Astacin was introduced by the German chemist Richard Kuhn (1900-67) and the Austrian-born French chemist Edgar Lederer (1908-88) in "Über die Farbstoffe des Hummers (Astacus gammarus L.) und ihre Stammsubstanz, das Astacin," Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 66. Jahrgang, Nr. 4 (April 5, 1933), pp. 488-95.— Greek astakós/ostakós has been traced to a hypothetical Indo-European derivative *h2osth1-n̥-ko- from the base *h2ost- "bone" (see osseous), supposedly comparable to Sanskrit an-ástha-ka- "without bones." The variant astakós is explained as either vowel assimilation or the outcome of an ablaut variant *h2est- (allegedly seen also in astrágalos "neck vertebra, ankle bone"; see astragalus). Beekes (Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2010), who reconstructs the "bone" base as *h3esth1-, objects that the formation *h3esth1-n̥-ko- is unparalleled in Greek, and that the a/o fluctuation (not to mention the semantic field) is indicative of substratal origin.

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The first known use of astaxanthin was in 1939

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Cite this Entry

“Astaxanthin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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