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Beta-carotene is an orange lipophilic compound. It is the most common and the most stable natural colorant. It is abundant in many vegetables and fruits such as carrots, sweet potatoes, papaya, orange and green vegetables. Its colour value is very high. It is widely used as a food colorant for yellow, orange and orange-red colours.

Functions

l  An excellent food colorant:

Beta-carotene offers attractive colours to a wide variety of foods and drinks. It is relatively stable to pH changes, and relatively heat stable. So it is widely applied to baked foods, cream, drinks, candies, etc.

l  A precursor to vitamin A:

When vitamin A is deficient in the human body, beta-carotene will change into vitamin A. When the body is saturated with vitamin A, beta-carotene will stop changing into vitamin A. Therefore, ingesting beta-carotene never causes vitamin A overdose.

l  A strong anti-oxidant:

Ageing and many diseases are due to excessive amounts of free radicals in tissues. Anti-oxidants can reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. Thus, the ingestion of anti-oxidants can help maintain the normal function of cells, slow down ageing and prevent diseases. It can also restore cells damaged by free radicals to normal, hence can help treat certain diseases. Beta-carotene is a very effective physiological anti-oxidant. 

 

Applications

Food industry: Used as a colorant, an anti-oxidant or a nutritional fortifier.

Dietary supplements

Pharmaceutical industry: Used to treat and prevent vitamin A deficiency, eye sight problems and skin problems. Used to improve immunity, prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

Cosmetic industry: Used for colouring, slowing down ageing, protecting skin, etc.

Animal feed industry: Used to strengthen animals’ immune systems, as well as to raise animals’ reproduction rates. Also used to add colours to fish, prawns and poultry.