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n. (context organic chemistry English) Any of a class of heterocyclic compounds containing four pyrrole rings arranged in a square; they are important in biochemistry in a form with a metal atom in the central cavity (hemoglobin with iron, chlorophyll with magnesium, etc.).


n. any of various pigments distributed widely in living tissues


Porphyrins are a group of heterocyclic macrocycle organic compounds, composed of four modified pyrrole subunits interconnected at their α carbon atoms via methine bridges (=CH−). The parent porphyrin is porphin, and substituted porphines are called porphyrins. The porphyrin ring structure is aromatic, with a total of 26 electrons in the conjugated system. Various analyses indicate that not all atoms of the ring are involved equally in the conjugation or that the molecule's overall nature is substantially based on several smaller conjugated systems. One result of the large conjugated system is that porphyrin molecules typically have very intense absorption bands in the visible region and may be deeply colored; the name "porphyrin" comes from the Greek word πορφύρα (porphyra), meaning purple.

Many porphyrins are naturally occurring; one of the best-known porphyrins is heme, the pigment in red blood cells, a cofactor of the protein hemoglobin.

Usage examples of "porphyrin".

The aureme, in equilibrium with chloraurate ion, entered the blood stream and was carried to the ovaries, where the gold was separated out and the porphyrin portion of the molecule disposed of by some as yet unidentified mechanism.

For example, porphyrin complexed with iron or magnesium is the nonprotein part of hemoglobin and chlorophyll.

I knew him fairly well ten years ago, when he was working on porphyrin syntheses.

Lanhoff find any evidence of porphyrins, or nitrogen compounds like purines and pyrimidines?

Cellulose, polypeptides, carotenoids, and porphyrins could be transformed to sugars, starches, proteins, and edible fats.

The buildup of toxic levels of these porphyrins in the bloodstream and urine produced a number of unpleasant side effects.