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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Lutein (LOO-teen) (from Latin lutea meaning "yellow") is one of over 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids.
  • Found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, lutein is employed by organisms as an antioxidant and for blue light absorption.
  • Lutein is covalently bound to one or more fatty acids present in some fruits and flowers, notably marigolds.
  • Lutein is also found in egg yolks, animal fats and the corpus luteum.Lutein is a lipophilic molecule and is generally insoluble in water.

Properties

  • Lutein can lower the risk of age related vision loss, which causes gradual loss of central vision.
  • Age related vision loss or age related macular degeneration (AMD) is caused by steady damage of the retina.
  • Lutein probably acts by preventing oxidative damage of the retina cells. Lutein is concentrated in the central part of the retina, called the macula.
  • Lutein also reduces the oxidation of LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of artery clogging. Lutein can also reduce the risk of skin cancer and sunburn.

Process

  •  Lutein crystals containing 5 % zeaxanthin were obtained from the dried petals of Marigold flowers $i(Tagete erecta) while zeaxanthin was isolated and purified from the berries of $i(Lycium Chinese Mill (LCM berries)).
  • This process has been employed to isolate and purify a mixture of lutein, beta-carotene, neoxanthin, violaxanthin, and lutein epoxide from green plants, preferably, kale, collard green, and spinach.
  • The purified carotenoids isolated by this process are free from impurities and serve as a safe source of nutritional supplement for human consumption as well as providing a suitable and effective color additive for human foods.

Market

  • This new market pushed lutein's market value up to $139 million in 2004, compared to just $64 million in 1999. Strong growth is anticipated to continue, which BCC pitches annually at 6.1 per cent until 2009.
  • Most of the carotenoids on the market are currently produced by chemical synthesis and partly by extraction from plant material.
  • With eye health as its main sput, the lutein market is currently estimated to be worth in the region of US$100m and $130m.

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