And while astaxanthin on its own is red, it turns into blue when bound by crustacyanin. Per a research made back in 2002, the crustacyanin present in lobster's bodies twist astaxanthin, therefore changing how it would reflect light.
However, when lobsters get heated (as they are being cooked), the crustacyanin reorganizes and and loses their shape, "releasing" the astaxanthin and therefore revealing its true color, which is red.
She said: "A lobster's colour is due to a pigment molecule called astaxanthin which is attached to a protein called crustacyanin
. Bright blue lobsters have a genetic defect that causes them to produce an excess of the crustacyanin
protein, very simplistically 'diluting' the colour and making them appear a brighter blue.
keratin-associated proteins, calcified cuticle protein, chitinase, partial TTN for titin); cell cycle related proteins (stromal cell derived factor 2, transcription factor AP2, S-phase response); vision genes (opsin, rhodopsin), cell-signaling molecules (cyclophillin, yellow head virus receptor protein, laminin receptor, receptor for activated protein kinase C-like, TonB-dependent receptors, wound response gene, peritrophin A, motifs of U88 protein of human herpesvirus 6, antiviral proteins (hemocyanin, crustacyanin
, PMAV); and allergens (Pena 1, arginine kinase, tropomyosin), among others.
The scientific research, which was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, involved the growing of blue crystals of highly pure crustacyanin which were then analysed using the technique of X-ray crystallography to build up a three dimensional picture of all the molecules involved.
The team found that astaxanthin is orange in its free, unbound form but, when it is tightly held by the crustacyanins, it becomes blue.
Some of the above-mentioned bands in the medium-MW range might be formed by subunits of crustacyanin
. Blue crustacyanin
([beta]-form) is an oligomeric carotenoprotein that colors the carapace of decapods (Zagalsky et al., 1970; Vranckx and Durliat, 1986).