β-Carotene is an organic, strongly colored red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. It is a member of the carotenes, which are terpenoids(isoprenoids), synthesized biochemically from eight isoprene units and thus having 40 carbons. Among the carotenes, β-carotene is distinguished by having beta-rings at both ends of the molecule. β-Carotene is biosynthesized from geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate.
β-Carotene is the most common form of carotene in plants. When used as a food coloring, it has the E number E160a. The structure was deduced by Karrer et al. in 1930. In nature, β-carotene is a precursor (inactive form) to vitamin A via the action of beta-carotene 15,15-monooxygenase.
Isolation of β-carotene from fruits abundant in carotenoids is commonly done using column chromatography. It can also be extracted from the beta-carotene rich algae, Dunaliella salina.The separation of β-carotene from the mixture of other carotenoids is based on the polarity of a compound. β-Carotene is a non-polar compound, so it is separated with a non-polar solvent such as hexane. Being highly conjugated, it is deeply colored, and as a hydrocarbon lacking functional groups, it is very lipophilic.
|Color||Light red or red|
|Odor||With beta carotene peculiar smell,no other smell|
|Appearance||Small spherical shape particles,good fluidity,no adhesion,good flexibility,no impurities||Dare red crystal|
|Loss on drying,%||≤8||≤5||≤0.2%|
|Dispersivity in water||Dispersed in cold water||Dispersed in cold water||Insoluble|
Package and shipment
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