any of three yellow or orange fat-soluble pigments having the formula C 40 H 56 , found in many plants, especially carrots, and transformed to vitamin A in the liver; provitamin A.
Also, carotin.

1860–65; < Late Latin carōt(a) carrot + -ene Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
carotene or carotin (ˈkærəˌtiːn, ˈkærətɪn)
any of four orange-red isomers of an unsaturated hydrocarbon present in many plants (β-carotene is the orange pigment of carrots) and converted to vitamin A in the liver. Formula: C40H56
[C19 carotin, from Latin carōtacarrot; see -ene]
carotin or carotin
[C19 carotin, from Latin carōtacarrot; see -ene]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1861, from Ger. carotin, coined 1831 by H.W.F. Wackenroder from L. carota "carrot" + Ger. form of chemical suffix -ine.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

carotene car·o·tene (kār'ə-tēn') or car·o·tin (-tĭn)
An orange-yellow to red crystalline pigment that exists in three isomeric forms designated alpha, beta, and gamma; it is converted to vitamin A in the liver and is found in animal tissue and certain plants, such as carrots and squash.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
carotene   (kār'ə-tēn')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of various organic compounds that occur as orange-yellow to red pigments in many plants and in animal tissue. In plant leaves, carotenes aid in the absorption of light energy by transferring the energy to chlorophyll and act as antioxidants protecting chlorophyll from damage by oxidation. In animals, carotenes are converted to vitamin A primarily in the liver. They are members of the carotenoid family of compounds and give plants such as carrots, pumpkins, and dandelions their characteristic color. Chemical formula: C40H56. See also xanthophyll.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
If the leaf contains carotene, birch trees for example, the fading leaf changes from green to yellow.
It is loaded with beta carotene and has a nutty flavor.
Food sources of carotenoids such as beta-carotene may reduce the risk for cancer.
Carotene protects plant cells against the destructive effects of ultraviolet light.
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