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General
  • Beta-carotene is an organic compound and a terpenoid. As a carotene with β-rings at both ends, it is the most common form of carotene. It is a form of Vitamin A Being highly conjugated, it is deeply colored, and as a hydrocarbon lacking fuctional groups, it is very lipophilic.
  • The structure was deduced by Karrer et al. In nature, β-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A via the action of β-carotene dioxygenase. β-carotene is also the substance in carrots that colours them orange. β-Carotenoid is biosynthesized from geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate.

Process

  • The extraction of carotenoids from crude palm oil was carried out in a dynamic (flowthrough) supercritical fluid extraction system. The carotenoids obtained were quantified using off-line UV-visible spectrophotometry. The effects of operating pressure and temperature, flow rate of the supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2), sample size of feed used on the solubility of palm carotenoids were investigated.

  •  The results showed that the extraction of carotenoids was governed by its solubility in the SC-CO2 and can be enhanced by increasing pressure at a constant temperature or decreasing temperature at a constant pressure. Increasing the flow rate and decreasing the sample size can reduce the extraction time but do not enhance the solubility.

Technology

  • Without exception, the C40-carotenoids produced today by industrial synthesis have symmetrical structures, i.e., they have identical end-groups. The most efficient method for building up these symmetrical structures is the double Wittig condensation of a symmetrical C10-dialdehyde 9 as the central C10-building block with two equivalents of an appropriate C15-phosphonium salt 10.

Application

  • Applications for beta-carotene include margarines, beverages, cakes, soups, milk-based products, desserts, candies, salad dressings, pastas and others.

Market

  • The current worldwide market value of all commercially-used carotenoids is estimated at $887 million  and expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 2.9% to just over $1 billion.
  • The market value of beta-carotene was estimated at $242 million. Increasing competition from Asia has resulted in price pressure that will result in a very moderate 2.9% AAGR. Food still is the most important outlet, where it is widely used as a color.

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