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Red betalains from Opuntia spp.: Natural colorants with potential applications in foods

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Natural red colorants are highly appreciated by the food industry, and betalains are one such category. There are few sources in nature of betalains, which are commonly obtained from red beet as a colorant additive and acceptable for addition to foods according the regulations of several countries. Red and purple Opuntia fruits could be a new source of these pigments for commercial purposes. The content of the pigment varies according the species and the extraction procedures. The stability of the pigments is another aspect to be considered. Betalains are also suggested as antioxidants and the final colorant could be considered as a functional additive. Additionally, the inhabitants of many arid zones of the world could benefit from an increase in the demand of Opuntia fruits, a plant with low growing requirements.

Affiliations: 1: Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas, Universidad de Chile ; 2: Escuela de Ingeniería de Alimentos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso ; 3: Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad de Chile


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