In the natural world colour is obvious and its importance in advertising the presence of flowers to pollinators and in camouflage is well known. In most cases the property of colour is due to the presence in the tissues of natural pigments. But these pigments are of much greater importance than merely to give colour, e.g. the fundamental light-harvesting molecules of photosynthesis, the light-detecting molecules of vision and haemoglobin in the blood.
This book describes the structures and properties of the main groups of natural pigments, their distribution in Nature, their biosynthesis and functions and their associated chemistry and biology. Industrial applications, and medical significance and uses, of certain groups of pigments are outlined and some ecological aspects of colour and pigmentation are touched upon. The book was written as a textbook for advanced undergraduates and graduate students and concentrates on the main features of each class of pigments and on general principles.