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Occurrence of Carotenoid Esters in Foods

Carotenoid pigments are responsible for the yellow, orange and red colours of most fruits and vegetables, and also of some animal food sources, including fish, crustaceans and birds. In fruits, the most common native state for the majority of hydroxy-xanthophylls (i.e. carotenoids containing hydroxyl functional groups) is as xanthophyll esters. The in vivo esterification process of xanthophylls is an important part of post-carotenogenesis metabolism and mediates the accumulation of these molecules in plants. Although our understanding of the esterification of xanthophylls with fatty acids is increasing, it is still relatively scarce when compared to the free counterparts. In addition, the biochemical and genetic characterisation of the xanthophyll esterification process is still an open question in the carotenoid field. This chapter presents a compilation of relevant data on the occurrence of xanthophyll esters in foods from plant and animal origins with the aim of contributing to our understanding of this important natural process.

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06 Mar 2019
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ePub eISBN