Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: chrom- or chromo-

These colored bands represent the separation of different chemicals by the process of chromatography. The process uses a solvent to move the initial sample across some substrate (such as paper). The different physical properties of different chemicals will cause them to move at different rates and separate.

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Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: chrom- or chromo-


The prefix (chrom- or chromo-) means color. It is derived from the Greek chrôma for color.


Chroma (chrom - a) - the quality of a color determined by its intensity and purity.

Chromatic (chrom - atic) - relating to color or colors.

Chromaticity (chrom - aticity) - refers to the color quality based on both the color's dominant wavelength and purity.

Chromatid (chrom - atid) - one-half of two identical copies of a replicated chromosome.

Chromatin (chrom - atin) - mass of genetic material found in the nucleus that is composed of DNA and proteins. It condenses to form chromosomes. Chromatin gets its name from the fact that it easily stains with basic dyes.

Chromatogram (chrom - ato - gram) - a column of material that has been separated by chromatography.

Chromatograph (chrom - ato - graph) - refers to the process of analysis and separation by chromatography or to a device that can produce a chromatogram.

Chromatography (chrom - ato - graphy) - a method of separating mixtures by absorption along a stationary medium such as paper or gelatin. Chromatography was first used to separate plant pigments. There are several types of chromatography. Examples include column chromatography, gas chromatography, and paper chromatography.

Chromatolysis (chrom - ato - lysis) - refers to the dissolution of chromophilic material in a cell like chromatin.

Chromatophore (chrom - ato - phore) - a pigment producing cell or colored plastid in plant cells such as chloroplasts.

Chromatotropism (chrom - ato - tropism) - movement in response to stimulation by color.

Chromobacterium (chromo - bacterium) - a genus of bacteria that produce a violet pigment and can cause disease in humans.

Chromodynamics (chromo - dynamics) - another name for quantum chromodynamics. Quantum chromodynamics is a theory in physics that describes the interaction of quarks and gluons.

Chromogen (chromo - gen) - a substance that lacks color, but can be converted to a dye or pigment. It also refers to a pigment producing or pigmented organelle or microbe.

Chromogenesis (chromo - genesis) - the formation of pigment or color.

Chromogenic (chromo - genic) - denoting a chromogen or relating to chromogenesis.

Chromomeric (chromo - meric) - of or relating to chromatin portions that make up a chromosome.

Chromonema (chromo - nema) - refers to the mostly uncoiled thread of chromosomes in prophase. As cells enter metaphase, the thread becomes primarily spiral.

Chromopathy (chromo - pathy) - a form of therapy in which patients are exposed to different colors.

Chromophil (chromo - phil) - a cell, organelle, or tissue element that stains readily.

Chromophobe (chromo - phobe) - refers to a histological term for a cell, organelle, or tissue element that is resistant to stains or not stainable. In other words, a cell or cell structure that doesn't stain easily.

Chromophobic (chromo - phobic) - of or relating to a chromophobe.

Chromophore (chromo - phore) - chemical groups that are capable of colorizing certain compounds and have the ability to form dyes.

Chromoplast (chromo - plast) - plant cell with yellow and orange pigments. Chromoplast also refers to those plastids in plant cells that have pigments that are not chlorophyll.

Chromoprotein (chromo - protein) - a microbiological term that refers to a member of a group of conjugated proteins where the protein contains a pigmented group. The most common example is hemoglobin.

Chromosome (chromo - some) - gene aggregate that carries heredity information in the form of DNA and is formed from condensed chromatin.

Chromosphere (chromo - sphere) - a layer of gas that surrounds the photosphere of a star. Said layer is distinct from the star's corona and is typically composed mostly of hydrogen.

Chromospheric (chromo - spheric) - of or pertaining to the chromosphere of a star.

chrom- or chromo- Word Analysis

As with any scientific discipline, understanding prefixes and suffixes can help the student of biology understand difficult biological concepts. After reviewing the above examples, you should have no problem with deciphering the meaning of additional chrom- and chromo- words like chromatographer, chromonematic, and chromosomally.


  • Reece, Jane B., and Neil A. Campbell. Campbell Biology. Benjamin Cummings, 2011.
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Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: chrom- or chromo-." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2021, Bailey, Regina. (2021, September 7). Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: chrom- or chromo-. Retrieved from Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: chrom- or chromo-." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).