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In chemistry, the term chromogen refers to a colourless (or faintly coloured) chemical compound that can be converted by chemical reaction into a compound which can be described as "coloured".[1][2] There is no universally agreed definition of the term. Various dictionaries give the following definitions:

  • A substance capable of conversion into a pigment or dye.
  • Any substance that can become a pigment or coloring matter, a substance in organic fluids that forms colored compounds when oxidized, or a compound, not itself a dye, that can become a dye.
  • Any substance, itself without color, giving origin to a coloring matter.

In biochemistry the term has a rather different meaning. The following are found in various dictionaries.

  • A precursor of a biochemical pigment
  • A pigment-producing microorganism
  • Any of certain bacteria that produce a pigment
  • A strongly pigmented or pigment-generating organelle, organ, or microorganism.[citation needed]

Applications in chemistry[edit]

Applications in biochemistry and medicine[edit]


  1. ^ Burkinshaw, Stephen M. (2016). Physico-chemical Aspects of Textile Coloration. John Wiley & Sons. p. 75. ISBN 9781118725696. OCLC 1038053293. Archived from the original on 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  2. ^ Cain, John Cannell; Thorpe, Jocelyn Field (1905). The Synthetic Dyestuffs and the Intermediate Products from which They are Derived. C. Griffin, limited. pp. 38-40. Retrieved 2 September 2018. chromogen classification.