Commercial preparations from red beets are currently restricted in most countries to two products. Liquid concentrates can be prepared by pressing blanched ground beets, filtering, and concentrating under vacuum to 60 to 65% total solids. Powders can be prepared by spray-drying the liquid concentrate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved extraction procedures are described in the 21CFR Section 73.400 for Beet Powder. Beet juice contains considerable sugar, so a yeast fermentation is sometimes included to reduce the sugar content. The alcohol produced in the fermentation step would have to be removed. Beet juice usually exhibits a beetlike taste and odor due to the

Candida Thin Prep
Figure 5. Structures of betanidin (a), isobetanidin (b), 2-decarboxybetanidin (c), and indicaxan-thin (d).

presence of geosmin. Fermentation with Aspergillus niger, Candida utilis, and Saccharomyces oviformis has been reported to produce a product with improved stability and also to remove the geosmin. Traditionally, hydraulic or rotary presses have been used, but they recover only about 50% of the pigment. Recoveries as high as 90% can be accomplished by continuous diffusion processes. A number of resin and other absorption processes such as Dowex 50 W followed by polyamide column chromatography with methanol as the eluent, polyacrylamide (Bio-Gel P-6), and numerous others (3) are available for purification of the pigments, but they are not usually permitted by legislation. In vitro cell suspensions have been reported to yield high levels of pigment production, and they have a number of advantages. The high growth rates of cultures makes pigment production efficient. The characteristic odor of geosmin is not produced. A number of pigments can be produced selectively as desired. Economic commercialization of cell culture production systems has yet to be demonstrated. But there is a need for more highly purified and concentrated colorants.

Commercial beet powders usually contain 0.4 to 1.0% pigment expressed as betanin, 80% sugar, 8% ash, and 10%

protein together with citric and/or ascorbic acid as a preservative. The tinctorial power is usually expressed as % betanin. Betanin is identified as EEC No. E 162 or CAS Reg. No. 7659-95-2.

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