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[pawr-fuh-rin] /ˈpɔr fə rɪn/
noun, Biochemistry
a dark red, photosensitive pigment consisting of four pyrrole rings linked by single carbon atoms: a component of chlorophyll, heme, and vitamin B 1 2 .
Origin of porphyrin
1905-10; < Greek porphýr(a) purple + -in2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for porphyrin


any of a group of pigments occurring widely in animal and plant tissues and having a heterocyclic structure formed from four pyrrole rings linked by four methylene groups
Word Origin
C20: from Greek porphura purple, referring to its colour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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porphyrin in Medicine

porphyrin por·phy·rin (pôr'fə-rĭn)
Any of various heterocyclic compounds, derived from pyrrole, that occur universally in protoplasm, contain a central metal atom, and provide the foundation structure for hemoglobin, chlorophyll, and certain enzymes.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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porphyrin in Science
Any of various organic pigments containing four pyrrole rings bonded to one another. The rings form the corners of a large flat square, in the middle of which is a cavity that often contains a metal atom. Porphyrins occur universally in protoplasm and function with bound metals such as iron in hemoglobin and magnesium in chlorophyll.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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