Plant extracts of carotenoids have been used for centuries as food and cosmetic colorants, so it was only natural that synthetic carotenoids would become available as colorants. The original synthesis of ^-carotene was reported in 1950, and commercial production followed in 1954. It was followed by /J-apo-8 ' -carotenal in 1962 and canthaxanthin in 1964. The methyl and ethyl esters of /?-apo-8'-carotenoic acid, citranaxanthin, and astaxanthin followed (Fig. 3). All carotenoids by virtue of their structure are susceptible to degradation by oxidation, light, and heat. In addition, they are insoluble in water and almost insoluble in oil. But appropriate commercial preparations are currently available for almost any type of food in the yellow to red range.
A variety of approaches are used to prepare appropriate formulations. These involve reducing particle size for suspensions in oil and stabilization with antioxidants. Three approaches are used to develop water-soluble products. These are formulation of colloidal suspensions, emulsifi-cation of oily solutions, and dispersion in suitable colloids. They can be stabilized by a wide variety of additives in the protein, carbohydrate, and lipid categories and stabilized o
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