Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, 1) and its derivatives: pyridoxal (2), pyridoxal 5-phosphate (3) and pyridoxamine (4) are important natural compounds involved in numerous biological functions. Pyridoxine appears to play a role in the resistance of the filamentous fungus Cercospora nicotianae to its own abundantly produced strong photosensitizer of singlet molecular oxygen (1O2), cercosporin. We measured the rate constants (kq) for the quenching of 1O2 phosphorescence by 1-4 in D2O. The respective total (physical and chemical quenching) kq values are: 5.5 x 10(7) M-1 s-1 for 1; 7.5 x 10(7) M-1 s-1 for 2, 6.2 x 10(7) M-1 s-1 for 3 and 7.5 x 10(7) M-1 s-1 for 4, all measured at pD 6.2. The quenching efficacy increased up to five times in alkaline solutions and decreased approximately 10 times in ethanol. Significant contribution to total quenching by chemical reaction(s) is suggested by the degradation of all the vitamin derivatives by 1O2, which was observed as declining absorption of the pyridoxine moiety upon aerobic irradiation of RB used to photosensitize 1O2. This photodegradation was completely stopped by azide, a known physical quencher of 1O2. The pyridoxine moiety can also function as a redox quencher for excited cercosporin by forming the cercosporin radical anion, as observed by electron paramagnetic resonance. All B6 vitamers fluoresce upon UV excitation. Compounds 1 and 4 emit fluorescence at 400 nm, compound 2 at 450 nm and compound 3 at 550 nm. The fluorescence intensity of 3 increased approximately 10 times in organic solvents such as ethanol and 1,2-propanediol compared to aqueous solutions, suggesting that fluorescence may be used to image the distribution of 1-4 in Cercospora to understand better the interactions of pyridoxine and 1O2 in the living fungus.