Any of a group of red or blue photosynthetic pigments present in some algae.
- Unlike any other flagellate algae, they contain phycobilins as accessory photosynthetic pigments, as do red algae and cyanobacteria.
- It is a fundamental metabolic pathway needed for biosynthesis of cytochromes, chlorophylls, phycobilins, and the corrin nucleus of vitamin B 12.
- A second group, the Dinophysis species, have plastids containing phycobilins and chlorophyll a + c.
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