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Vitamin A deficiency is a disorder of public health importance in Sri Lanka. A recent national survey revealed that 36% of preschool children in Sri Lanka have vitamin A deficiency (serum retinol <0.2 µg ml−1). In view of its well-established association with child morbidity and mortality, this is a reason for concern. One of the main fruits which has been recommended for prevention of vitamin A deficiency in Sri Lanka is papaya (Carica papaya L). In this study the carotenoid profiles of yellow- and red-fleshed papaya were analysed by medium-pressure liquid chromatography (MPLC) and UV-vis spectrophotometry. A section of yellow-fleshed papaya showed small carotenoid globules dispersed all over the cell, whereas in red-fleshed papaya the carotenoids were accumulated in one large globule. The major carotenoids of yellow-fleshed papaya were the provitamin A carotenoids β-carotene (1.4 ± 0.4 µg g−1 dry weight (DW)) and β-cryptoxanthin (15.4 ± 3.3 µg g−1 DW) and the non-provitamin A carotenoid ζ-carotene (15.1 ± 3.4 µg g−1 DW), corresponding theoretically to 1516 ± 342 µg kg−1 DW mean retinol equivalent (RE). Red-fleshed papaya contained the provitamin A carotenoids β-carotene (7.0 ± 0.7 µg g−1 DW), β-cryptoxanthin (16.9 ± 2.9 µg g−1 DW) and β-carotene-5,6-epoxide (2.9 ± 0.6 µg g−1 DW), and the non-provitamin A carotenoids lycopene (11.5 ± 1.8 µg g−1 DW) and ζ-carotene (9.9 ± 1.1 µg g−1 DW), corresponding theoretically to 2815 ± 305 µg kg−1 DW mean RE. Thus the carotenoid profile and organisation of carotenoids in the cell differ in the two varieties of papaya. This study demonstrates that carotenoids can be successfully separated, identified and quantified using the novel technique of MPLC. Copyright © 2003 Society of Chemical Industry
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Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture J Sci Food Agric 83:12791282 (online: 2003)
DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.1533
Carotenoids in yellow- and red-fleshed papaya
(Carica papaya L)
U Gamage Chandrika,1Errol R Jansz,1SMD Nalinie Wickramasinghe1and
Narada D Warnasuriya2
1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
2Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
Abstract: Vitamin A deficiency is a disorder of public health importance in Sri Lanka. A recent
national survey revealed that 36% of preschool children in Sri Lanka have vitamin A deficiency
(serum retinol <0.2µgml
1). In view of its well-established association with child morbidity and
mortality, this is a reason for concern. One of the main fruits which has been recommended for
prevention of vitamin A deficiency in Sri Lanka is papaya (Carica papaya L). In this study the
carotenoid profiles of yellow- and red-fleshed papaya were analysed by medium-pressure liquid
chromatography (MPLC) and UV-vis spectrophotometry. A section of yellow-fleshed papaya showed
small carotenoid globules dispersed all over the cell, whereas in red-fleshed papaya the carotenoids were
accumulated in one large globule. The major carotenoids of yellow-fleshed papaya were the provitamin
A carotenoids β-carotene (1.4±0.4µgg
1dry weight (DW)) and β-cryptoxanthin (15.4±3.3µgg
and the non-provitamin A carotenoid ζ-carotene (15.1±3.4µgg
1DW), corresponding theoretically to
1516 ±342 µgkg
1DW mean retinol equivalent (RE). Red-fleshed papaya contained the provitamin A
carotenoids β-carotene (7.0±0.7µgg
1DW), β-cryptoxanthin (16.9±2.9µgg
1DW) and β-carotene-5,6-
epoxide (2.9±0.6µgg
1DW), and the non-provitamin A carotenoids lycopene (11.5±1.8µgg
1DW) and
ζ-carotene (9.9±1.1µgg
1DW), corresponding theoretically to 2815 ±305 µgkg
1DW mean RE. Thus the
carotenoid profile and organisation of carotenoids in the cell differ in the two varieties of papaya. This
study demonstrates that carotenoids can be successfully separated, identified and quantified using the
novel technique of MPLC.
2003 Society of Chemical Industry
Keywords: Carica papaya; carotenoids; structure; dispersion
Vitamin A deficiency is a disorder of public health
importance in Sri Lanka. A recent national sur-
vey revealed that 36% of preschool children in Sri
Lanka have vitamin A deficiency (serum retinol
1). In view of its well-established asso-
ciation with child morbidity and mortality, this is a
reason for concern.
Vitamin A is available from animal sources in the
form of retinol, retinal, retinoic acid or esters, and
from plant sources, particularly fruits and vegetables,
in the form of provitamin A carotenoids. There
are approximately 50 known active provitamin A
carotenoids, of which β-carotene makes the largest
contribution to vitamin A activity in plant foods.
Recent findings suggest that the bioavailability of
carotenoids in fruits and vegetables may be much lower
than previously estimated.1,2Research is currently
under way to revise the previously established
conversion factors.
In addition to this traditional role, carotenoids with
or without vitamin A activity are known to be involved
in immunoenhancement,3treatment and prevention
of cancer4and antioxidant capacity.5
According to a survey carried out by the Medical
Research Institute,6although mothers’ awareness and
children’s consumption of vitamin A-rich foods are
good, vitamin A deficiency persists. This implies one
or more of several possibilities.
(a) The wrong impression is held that yellow fruits
(Carica papaya species, etc) contain provitamin
A (the colour may be due to non-provitamin
A carotenoids or compounds of other chemi-
cal origin).
(b) Food preparation can affect biological activ-
ity and/or bioavailability. Recent studies have
indicated that several factors (eg heat) affect
the biological activity and bioavailability of
Correspondence to: U Gamage Chandrika, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura,
Gangodawila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
Contract/grant sponsor: IPICS; contract/grant number: SRI 07
Contract/grant sponsor: University of Sri Jayewardenepura; contract/grant number: ASP/6/PR/2000/13
(Received 12 March 2002; accepted 12 February 2003)
2003 Society of Chemical Industry. J Sci Food Agric 00225142/2003/$30.00 1279
UG Chandrika et al
(c) Some factors (eg lycopene) can inhibit β-carotene
15, 15-dioxygenase enzyme which is responsible
for the conversion of β-carotene to vitamin A.
These factors can be present in the food or food
preparation materials (eg tomatoes contain large
amounts of lycopene).
The main strategy for prevention of vitamin A
deficiency in Sri Lanka has been the promotion of
general consumption of provitamin A, especially as
carotenoids from plant sources. Papaya is one of the
main fruits recommended for vitamin A deficiency in
Sri Lanka. There are different varieties (eg red- and
yellow-fleshed) of C papaya. The carotenoid compo-
sitions of red- and yellow-fleshed papaya fruits found
in Japan have been studied by Yamamoto8using
traditional separation techniques (thin layer chro-
matography) and common identification methodology
(chemical reactions). Papaya fruit carotenoid compo-
sition has also been studied using high-performance
liquid chromatography (HPLC)9–12 andopencolumn
chromatography.13 To our knowledge, there has not
been a single study on the carotenoid composition of
C papaya found in Sri Lanka.
This may be due the fact that the capital and
maintenance costs of HPLC equipment are high and
often beyond the budgets of laboratories in developing
countries such as Sri Lanka. Furthermore, many
carotenoids cannot be identified owing to the lack of
reference standards. This study was undertaken with a
view to identifying and quantifying provitamin A and
non-provitamin A carotenoids of two main varieties
(red- and yellow-fleshed) of C papaya grown in Sri
Lanka, using medium-pressure liquid chromatography
(MPLC). The MPLC technique was selected because
it is a closed column method and can minimise
oxidation of carotenoids.
Yellow- and red-fleshed papaya (Carica papaya
L) fruits were bought from a local market. The
yellow-fleshed fruits selected were of the same
skin colour, shape (globular) and ripeness level
(pH 4.55.0). Likewise, the red-fleshed fruits
selected for this study were of the same skin
colour, shape (elongated) and ripeness level (pH
β-Carotene, lycopene and apo-8-carotenal were
obtained from Sigma Chemical Co (St Louis, MO,
USA). All other chemicals used were of analyti-
cal grade.
Sample preparation
A freeze-dried, homogeneous representative sample of
fruit pulp (5 g) was ground with methanol (3 ×50 ml)
using a mortar and pestle. The three extracts were
combined, filtered and portions (30 ml of each at a
time) were added to hexane (50 ml) in a separat-
ing funnel, mixed well and allowed to separate. The
lower aqueous layer was re-extracted into another
50 ml of hexane and this was repeated until the entire
colour was transferred to hexane. The combined
hexane extracts (150 ml) were saponified for 16 h
(dark, room temperature) by adding 0.15 g of buty-
lated hydroxytoluene (10 g l1in hexane) and 150 ml
of potassium hydroxide (100 g l1in methanol), then
concentrated to 2 ml in a rotary evaporator (30 C)
Medium-pressure liquid chromatography
The MPLC set-up consisted of a solvent pump (FMI
model QD-O-SSY lab pump, Fluid Metering Inc,
Oyster Bay, NY, USA; J.125 inch piston diameter,
pressure up to 100, flow rate range 0100 ml min1)
and a SEPARO column (10 cm ×1.5 cm; Baeck-
strom SEPARO AB, Lindigo, Sweden). Teflon tubes
between the pump and the column were intersected
with Luerlock (Baeckstrom, SEPARO AB, Lindigo,
Sweden) connectors to make sample injection possi-
ble with a Luerlock syringe (a constant-volume mixing
chamber combined with solvent reservoirs to create
a continuous gradients). The column was dry packed
with Merck silica gel 60A (Kebo Lab, Uppsala, Swe-
den) of particle size 40– 63 µm and compressed by
axial compression (pressure 8 bar) in a quick-grip
carpenter’s vice.
The carotenoid sample (1 ml) in hexane was injected
at a rate of 15 ml min1into the MPLC silica gel
column equilibrated with hexane. The fractions were
eluted successively with 100 ml portions of 0:100,
3.125:96.875, 6.25:93.75, 12.5:87.5, 25:75 and 50:50
CH2Cl2/hexane. Separation of the carotenoids was
monitored visually and each separated fraction was
collected as it left the column. Components seperate
from the extracts were concentrated to dryness using
nitrogen gas and dissolved in light petroleum, ethanol
and chloroform. The visible spectra of carotenoid
bands were recorded using a 1 cm cuvette from 350 to
600 nm on a Shimadzu UV-1601 spectrophotometer
(Kyoto, Japan). Purity of the bands was checked by
reverse phase HPLC (RP-HPLC).
Carotenoids were identified by comparison of
their absorption spectra in light petroleum, ethanol
and chloroform with data in the literature. Quan-
tification was accomplished using molar extinction
Microscopic studies
Cells of yellow- and red-fleshed papaya were exam-
ined using an Olympus B ×50 research microscope
(Olympus Optical Co, Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) at ×40
The major carotenoids found in ripe fruits of yellow-
and red-fleshed papaya and their observed λmax values
are shown in Table 1.
1280 J Sci Food Agric 83:12791282 (online: 2003)
Carotenoids in papaya
Table 1. Major provitamin A and non-provitamin A carotenoids in fruit pulp of yellow- and red-fleshed papaya (Carica papaya L)
Carotenoid and observed λmax values Dry weight (µgg
(nm) in light petroleum Yellow-fleshed (n=10) Red-fleshed (n=10) pvalue
Provitamin A carotenoids
β-Carotene (474.5, 448.5, 420.5) 1.4±0.47.0±0.7<0.0001
β-Cryptoxanthin (473, 448.5, 421.5) 15.4±3.316.9±2.9
β-Carotene-5,6-epoxide (423, 444.5, 474) ND 2.9±0.6
Calculated retinol equivalent (µgkg
1DW) 1516 ±342 2815 ±305
Non-provitamin A carotenoids
Lycopene (503, 472, 446.5, 363) ND 11.5±1.8
ζ-Carotene (449, 426.5, 402.5, 381) 15.1±3.49.9±1.1 0.018
ND, not detected (detection limit 0.08 µgg
Figure 1. Microscopic view of sections of (a) yellow-fleshed and (b)
red-fleshed papaya (×40 magnification).
Carotenoids of yellow-fleshed papaya were dis-
persed all over the cell in small globules (Fig 1(a)),
whereas those of red-fleshed papaya were accumulated
in one large globule (Fig 1(b)). This difference may
have a bearing on the bioavailability of carotenoids
from the two types of papaya.
Separation and quantification of the carotenoids in
two major varieties of C papaya growninSriLanka
indicated that red- and yellow-fleshed varieties had
different carotenoid profiles. Yellow-fleshed papaya
contained three major carotenoids, ie β-carotene, β-
cryptoxanthin and ζ-carotene. In addition to these
three carotenoids, red-fleshed papaya also contained
lycopene and β-carotene-5,6,-epoxide. It is interesting
to note that the lycopene content was fairly high in
the red-fleshed variety. The β-carotene content in red-
fleshed papaya was significantly higher (p<0.0001)
than that in yellow-fleshed papaya. ζ-Carotene was
the second most abundant carotenoid in yellow-
fleshed papaya, and its content was significantly higher
(p=0.018) than in red-fleshed papaya.
Red-fleshed fruits contained a higher proportion
of provitamin A carotenoids than yellow-fleshed
fruits. Hence the calculated mean retinol equivalent
(RE) was 1516 ±342 µgkg
1DW in yellow-fleshed
papaya, whereas in red-fleshed papaya it was 2815 ±
305 µgkg
1DW. Studies should be carried out to
determine if the bioavailability of vitamin A is
also higher in the red-fleshed type which contains
lycopene, an inhibitor of 15,15-dioxygenase enzyme
(which is responsible for the cleavage of provitamin
A carotenoids to give vitamin A).15 Lycopene is
an antioxidant beneficial to cardiovascular ailments.5
Excessive dietary intake of papaya has been observed
on occasion to cause a ‘yelloworange’ discoloration of
the skin of the palm among the Sri Lankan population.
This is not caused by any other yellow fruits in Sri
Lanka, eg mango, and may be due to lycopene, which
is present in high concentration in red-fleshed papaya.
The condition is known as lycopenaemia.16
The different carotenoid dispersion patterns (one
large globule in red-fleshed and many small globules
in yellow-fleshed papaya) may have a bearing on the
absorption of carotenoids in the gastrointestinal tract
and therefore on bioavailability.
J Sci Food Agric 83:1279 1282 (online: 2003) 1281
UG Chandrika et al
The carotenoid profile and organisation of carotenoids
in the cell differ in yellow- and red-fleshed varieties
of papaya. This study demonstrates that carotenoids
can be successfully separated, identified and quantified
using the novel technique of MPLC. Studies using ani-
mal models and humans will be required to determine
the nutritional significance of these differences.
Financial assistance from the IPICS (research grant
SRI 07) and the University of Sri Jayewardenepura
(research grant ASP/6/PR/2000/13) is gratefully
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... Different carotenoids levels were observed in our study for the papaya hybrids; with the highest found in Solo. Weather conditions, ripening stage, variety or group cultivar, geographical area and season of the year have been reported to have an effect on thecarotenoid levels in fruits (25). High amounts of β-carotene contents are reported in this study with similar results reported where the β-carotene content in red-fleshed papaya was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) than that in yellow-fleshed papaya (26). ...
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... Carotenoid identification in papaya extracts was carried out by using retention times, UV-Vis absorption spectra (λmax, spectral fine structure (%III/II), peak cis intensity) and by comparing chromatographic and spectrophotometric properties with commercial standards as previously was described by Lara-Abia et al. [2]. Additionally, data available in the literature was used to compare mass spectrum of unidentified compounds when standards were unavailable [34][35][36][37]. (all-E)-lycopene, (all-E)-β-carotene, (all-E)-αcarotene, (all-E)-β-cryptoxanthin, (all-E)-lutein, (all-E)-zeaxanthin, (all-E)-violaxanthin, (all-E)-neoxanthin, and trans-β-apo-8 -carotenal were quantitated using their respective calibration curves, preparing different concentrations (0.1-200 µg/mL) for each standard ( Figure S3). ...
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By-products from fruits and are of great interest for their potential use in the food industry due to their high content of bioactive compounds. Herein, we examined the ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) of carotenoid and carotenoid esters from papaya pulp and peel using soybean oil and sunflower oil as alternative green solvents. Response surface methodology (RSM) was established to optimize the UAE process. Three independent variables, ultrasonic amplitude (20–60%), time (10–60 min), and co-solvent percentage (ethanol) (5–20%, v/v), were applied. The highest total carotenoid content in the UAE extracts was obtained from papaya pulp extracts (58.7 ± 1.6 and 56.0 ± 1.5 μg carotenoids/g oil) using soybean oil and sunflower oil, respectively (60% amplitude/ 10 min/ 20% ethanol). On the other hand, the highest carotenoid content (52.0 ± 0.9 μg carotenoids/g oil) was obtained from papaya peel using soybean oil applying the UAE process (20% amplitude/ 77 min/ 20% ethanol); a minor content of 39.3 ± 0.5 μg carotenoids/g oil was obtained from papaya peel using sunflower oil at 60% amplitude/ 60 min/ 5% ethanol. Lycopene was the most abundant carotenoid among all individual carotenoids observed in papaya oil extracts, obtaining the highest yields of this carotenoid when papaya pulp and peel were extracted using soybean oil (94% and 81%, respectively) and sunflower oil (95% and 82%, respectively). Great extraction of xanthophyll esters was detected using 20% of ethanol in the vegetable oil extraction solvent (v/v). High correlations (>0.85) was obtained between total carotenoid content and color determination in the UAE oil extracts. UAE vegetable oil extracts enriched with carotenoids from papaya by-products could be useful to formulate new food ingredients based on emulsions with interesting potential health benefits.
... Among the six genera, Carica and Vasconcellea (wild highland relatives of C. papaya) are the two most important genera [4,5]. Papaya fruit is highly nutritive and can fulfill the standard recommended daily requirements of vitamins (A, C, B 9 , B 3 , B 1 , B 2 ), iron, potassium, calcium, and fiber [3,6,7]. They are also cultivated for proteolytic enzymes (papain) derived from the milky latex, used for food, textile, leather and pharmaceutical industries [8,9]. ...
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Background: Plant associated endophytic microbes play an important role in plant’s growth and development. After seed germination, the seed associated endophytes rapidly colonize the seedlings and help in their growth and protection against pathogens. This study was aimed to understand the diversity in the endophytic microbial population associated with the seeds of papaya (Carica papaya) and its wild relatives from Vasconcellea genus (family: Caricaceae). The species of Vasconcellea genus are widely used to introgress virus resistance in cultivated varieties of papaya. Hence, the diversity of seed associated endophytic microbes and their gene functional analysis was carried out through next generation sequencing of the microbial 16S rRNA and ITS sequences. Results: The 16S rRNA amplicon analysis revealed that the number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was higher for the endophytic bacteria, ranging between 144–204 when compared to 41–69 OTUs for the endophytic fungi. The bacterial phylum Proteobacteria was the most abundant seed associated phylum, with 64.7–72.8% abundance, across all four species of Caricaceae family, followed by Firmicutes (13.6–26.1%), Patescibacteria (1.1–2%) and Actinobacteria (0.7–2.7%). With respect to the diversity of bacteria by abundance indices, Vasconcellea goudotiana had the highest OTUs of 204, followed by 177 in V. cauliflora, 156 in V. cundinamarcensis, and 144 in C. papaya. The alpha diversity indices and functional analysis revealed the differences in the OTUs and the functional annotations among the above four plant species. The fungal OTUs were in the range of 41–69; however, only a small fraction of them could be taxonomically classified. Conclusion: Our microbiome studies reveal the differences in the seed associated endophytic microbial community across the four plant species of Caricaceae family. This study also unravels the composition of endophytic microbial population associated with the seeds of different plant species of Caricaceae family and their gene functions. It also provides an insight into both culturable and nonculturable endophytic microbes. Further this study reveals that domestication of Carica papaya might have resulted into reduced microbial diversity when compared to their wild relatives from Vasconcellea genus.
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Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is a nutritious fruit crop cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The unripened fruit contains papain which is used in the pharmaceutical, meat tenderization and food industries. This chapter review on the advancement in papaya tissue culture, genetic engineering and genomics for papaya improvement. Several methods of tissue culture including micropropagation, somatic embryogenesis, embryo rescue, protoplast and anther culture for papaya improvement. Papaya ring spot virus (PRSV) is a major concern for papaya industry worldwide. Several transgenic plants had been developed based on coat protein and replicase mediated resistance. Some marker assisted selection against PRSV had been discussed in this chapter. In Hawaiian, the commercialization of transgenic PRSV resistant Rainbow and SunUp papaya cultivars saved the papaya industry. Papaya with PRSV resistance is the first transgenic fruit crop that has been commercialized. The adoption of PRSV resistant transgenic papaya by the society is very low. In future, post-transcriptional gene silencing Role of Biotechnology in Papaya Production // 71 (PTGS) technology may be suitable to control the PRSV worldwide.
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Transgenic papaya is widely publicized for controlling papaya ringspot virus. However, the impact of particle bombardment on the genome remains unknown. The transgenic SunUp and its progenitor Sunset genomes were assembled into 351.5 and 350.3 Mb in nine chromosomes, respectively. We identified a 1.64 Mb insertion containing three transgenic insertions in SunUp chromosome 5, consisting of 52 nuclear-plastid, 21 nuclear-mitochondrial and 1 nuclear genomic fragments. A 591.9 kb fragment in chromosome 5 was translocated into the 1.64 Mb insertion. We assembled a gapless 9.8 Mb hermaphrodite-specific region of the Yh chromosome and its 6.0 Mb X counterpart. Resequencing 86 genomes revealed three distinct groups, validating their geographic origin and breeding history. We identified 147 selective sweeps and defined the essential role of zeta-carotene desaturase in carotenoid accumulation during domestication. Our findings elucidated the impact of particle bombardment and improved our understanding of sex chromosomes and domestication to expedite papaya improvement.
The vitamin A activity of a number of fresh and dried foods important in the diet of people in East Africa was determined by high performance liquid chromatography. The analytical results obtained were combined with data from the literature for inclusion in a comprehensive food table which has been used in a study on xerophthalmia in the United Republic of Tanzania. The importance of adopting standard procedures for reporting retinol and carotenoid values is discussed.
Substantial evidence has accumulated in recent years that suggests new nutritional roles for certain carotenoids in addition to the value of some as a source of vitamin A. Unfortunately, the commonly used calculation of the carotenoid contents of foods as retinol equivalents does not take the non-provitamin A activities of carotenoids into account. Thus, there is a need to express the content of β-carotene and, perhaps, other carotenoids in foods in milligrams, and to establish a new and separate recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for such nutrients.
Brazil has a wide variety of tropical, subtropical, and temperate fruits with widely differing carotenoid compositions, providing a good setting for investigating the natural occurrence of cis-isomers of provitamins. Seventy-five samples were analyzed. The fruits could be classified into two main groups: (1) those having β-carotene as the principal provitamin and (2) those with β-cryptoxanthin as the major provitamin. Some fruits also had α-carotene, γ-carotene, α-cryptoxanthin, and β-apo-10′-carotenal, usually at low levels. cis-Isomers were not found in cajá, papaya (two cultivars), passion fruit, pitanga, and West Indian cherry. Traces of 13-cis-β-carotene were found in some samples of loquat, mango (two cultivars), and piqui. Buriti, mamey, nectarine, and peach had 0.1-4.2 μg/g 13-cis-β-carotene and 0.1-1.0 μg/g 9-cis-β-carotene; the latter two fruits and piqui also had 0.2-0.4 μg/g neo-β-cryptoxanthin. Overestimations of only 3-10 % of the retinol equivalents occurred when the isomers were not separated, indicating that this separation is not important in fresh fruits.
ABSTRACTA procedure for the quantitative analyses of major carotenoids and carotenoid esters in persimmons and papayas using column and liquid chromatography is described. The carotenoids and carotenoid esters were first separated by column chromatography on alumina into three fractions by elution with petroleum ether-benzene (80:20), benzene and methanol. The column fractions were further separated by reversed phase liquid chromatography and characterized. The total carotenoid contents in persimmon and papaya calculated as beta-carotene equivalents were 43 and 25 μg/g, respectively. The major carotenoids in persimmon were beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, lycopene and antheraxanthin and the major carotenoids in papaya were beta-cryptoxanthin, cryptoxanthin 5,6-epoxidc, beta-carotene and antherxanthin. The xanthophylls were acylated with C8 to C16 saturated fatty acids.
Total carotenoid and β-carotene contents of 55 vegetable products and fruits commonly consumed in the northeastern part of Thailand have been determined by spectrophotometry and high-performance liquid chromatography. The vitamin A activities, as retinol equivalents, are calculated using the in vivo conversion factors given by the World Health Organization (WHO, 1982).The data obtained in the present study are, in general, markedly lower than those stated in the Thai Food Composition Table of 1978.Leaf vegetables contain considerably more carotenoids than tuberous vegetables and fruits. The distribution of carotenoids over leaves and stalks has been determined. The carotenoids of a plant are mainly deposited in the leaves which, in general, have a higher relative β-carotene content than the stalks.The average losses of vitamin A activity as a result of local processing, i.e. cooking, frying, fermenting, sun-drying and sun-drying followed by cooking, were found to be 14, 24, 29, 44 and 60%, respectively.
There is little evidence to support the general assumption that dietary carotenoids can improve vitamin A status. We investigated in Bogor District, West Java, Indonesia, the effect of an additional daily portion of dark-green leafy vegetables on vitamin A and iron status in women with low haemoglobin concentrations (Every day for 12 weeks one group (n=57) received stirfried vegetables, a second (n=62) received a wafer enriched with β-carotene, iron, vitamin C, and folic acid, and a third (n=56) received a non-enriched wafer to control for additional energy intake. The vegetable supplement and the enriched wafer contained 3·5 mg β-carotene, 5·2 mg and 4·8 mg iron, and 7·8 g and 4·4 g fat, respectively. Assignment to vegetable or wafer groups was by village. Wafers were distributed double-masked. In the enriched-wafer group there were increases in serum retinol (mean increase 0·32 [95% Cl 0·23-0·40] μmol/L), breastmilk retinol (0·59 [0·35-0·84] μmol/L), and serum β-carotene (0·73 [0·59-0·88] μmol/L). These changes differed significantly from those in the other two groups, in which the only significant changes were small increases in breastmilk retinol in the control-wafer group (0·16 [0·02-0·30] μmol/L) and in serum β-carotene in the vegetable group (0·03 [0-0·06] μmol/L). Changes in iron status were similar in all three groups.An additional daily portion of dark-green leafy vegetables did not improve vitamin A status, whereas a similar amount of β-carotene from a simpler matrix produced a strong improvement. These results suggest that the approach to combating vitamin A deficiency by increases in the consumption of provitamin A carotenoids from vegetables should be re-examined.