One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A brownish or grey-green compound formed by the degradation of chlorophyll (e.g. by weak acid or by enzymes), the magnesium atom being replaced by two hydrogen atoms; (more fully "phaeophytin a", "phaeophytin b") either of two forms of this, derived from chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b respectively.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Journal of the Chemical Society. From German Phaeophytin from ancient Greek ϕαιός grey + ϕυτόν plant + German -in.
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