Apart from chlorophyll, algae have several other pigments in their chloroplast. What pigments are found in blue, green, red and brown algae, that are responsible for their characteristic colours?

All photosynthetic organisms contain one or more organic pigments that are capable of absorbing visible radiations, which will initiate the photochemical reaction of photosynthesis. Three major classes of pigments found in plants and algae are the chlorophylls, the carotenoids and the phycobilins.

Carotenoid and phycobilins are called accessory pigments since, the quanta (packets of light) absorbed by these pigments can be transferred to chlorophyll.

The diversity of light harvesting g pigments in alga implies that the common ancestor was Primitive and that no close affinity exist between blue, green, red, brown, golden brown  green algae, to use their and common names.

The characteristic pigments of different classes are mentioned below


       Common name

       Major  pigments





    Green algae

    Brown algae


     Red algae

Chlorophyll-a and chlorophyll-b,

Chlorophyll-a, chlorophyll-c, Fucoxanthin.

Chlorophyll-a, chlorophyll-d. Phycoerythrin.