Role of astaxanthin in marine animals


Besides its role in species identification and mating signals, carotenoid colours are also physiolological factors. Seasonal astanxanthin levels in the carapace and eggs parallel the exposure to sunlight, indicating that the carotenoids serve to protect external proteins and eggs from ultraviolet exposure. Increased levels of astanxanthin can be artificially included in the diet through supplements such as NatuRose.   


Astaxanthin make up the bulk of carotenoids in salmonids, crustaceans and many coelenterates, echinodermata, and tropical fish. The marine dorado Berynx decadactylus stores astaxanthin in the skin, mouth, gills and iris of the eyes. In fact, carotenoids are essential nutrients required in all aquatic diets. Experiments have demonstrated that pigmentation involves not only genetic factors, but also carotenoids which have a metabolic turnover and must be supplied in the diet to be maintained in animals.