β-Carotene is a strongly colored red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. It is an organic compound and chemically is classified as ahydrocarbon and specifically as a terpenoid (isoprenoid), reflecting its derivation from isoprene units. β-Carotene is biosynthesized fromgeranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. It is a member of the carotenes, which are tetraterpenes, synthesized biochemically from eight isoprene units and thus having 40 carbons. Among this general class of carotenes, β-carotene is distinguished by having beta-rings at both ends of the molecule. Absorption of β-carotene is enhanced if eaten with fats, as carotenes are fat soluble.
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