A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms. Viruses can infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to microorganisms, including bacteria and archaea.
There are millions types of viruses, ~ 5,000 virus species have been described in detail. Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem and are the most abundant type of biological entity. The origins of viruses in the evolutionary history of life are unclear.
While not inside an infected cell or in the process of infecting a cell, viruses exist in the form of independent particles, virions, which consist of the genetic material made from either DNA or RNA, a protein coat, and in some cases an outer coat of lipids. Virion is about one one-hundredth the size of a bacterium.
Carotenoids are a class of more than 750 pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. These richly colored molecules are the sources of the yellow, orange, and red colors of many plants. Fruit and vegetables provide most of the 40 to 50 carotenoid phytonutrients found in the human diet.
The most common carotenoids in North American diets are α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Provitamin A carotenoids - α-carotene, β-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin - can be converted by the body to retinol (vitamin A), but not lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Dietary lutein and zeaxanthin help maintain optimal visual function - they absorb damaging blue light that enters the eye.
The results of observational studies suggest that diets high in carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables are associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. But high-dose β-carotene supplements did not.