A new carotenoid has been isolated from the chicken retina for which the name galloxanthin is proposed. This substance has the properties of a hydroxy carotenoid or xanthophyll. It has not yet been crystallized. On a chromatogram of calcium carbonate it is adsorbed just below astaxanthin and above lutein.
The absorption spectrum of galloxanthin lies in a region where natural carotenoids have not ordinarily been found. Its main, central absorption band falls at about 400 mµ. The position of its spectrum suggests a conjugated system of eight double bonds. This relatively short polyene structure must be reconciled with very strong adsorption affinities.
With antimony trichloride, galloxanthin yields a deep blue product, possessing a main absorption band at 785 to 795 mµ, and a secondary maximum at about 710 mµ which may not be due to galloxanthin itself.
Galloxanthin appears to be one of the carotenoid filter pigments associated with cone vision in the chicken. It may act as an auxiliary to the other filter pigments in differentiating colors; or its primary function may be to exclude violet and near ultraviolet radiations for which the eye has a large chromatic aberration.