Animals’ jaundice pigment found in plants

Animals’ jaundice pigment found in plants

Bilirubin turns up as eye-popping orange in tropical seeds

By Susan Milius, 15:43 PM February 20, 2009

The pigment bilirubin, long known as a leftover in the breakdown of animal blood, has turned up in the blood-free world of plants.

In people and many other animals, bilirubin puts the yellow into bruises and into the complexion of jaundice sufferers.

Now it turns out that bilirubin also puts the screaming orange into the fuzz on seeds of the white bird of paradise tree, says Cary L. Pirone of Florida International University in Miami. A sister species with orange and blue flowers also carries...

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