en Natural Food Additives. IntechOpen. 2021, ISBN: 978-1-83968-960-4.
Autores/as: C. Lourenço-Lopes, A. Carreira-Casais, M. Fraga-Corral, P. Garcia-Oliveira, A. Soria, Jarboui, M. Barral, P. Otero, J. Simal-Gandara and M.A. Prieto.
The application of natural colorants is increasing in the food industry because they are considered safer and healthier than some synthetic pigments. Natural colorants can improve the organoleptic properties of foodstuffs, provide additional benefits such as enhance their nutritional value and/or extend shelf-life. Plants, fungi, bacteria or algae naturally produce different natural colorants, including carotenoids. These compounds are classified into two main groups: pure hydrocarbon carotenes (α- and β-carotenes, lycopene) and oxygenated derivatives of xanthophylls (lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, fucoxanthin, cryptoxanthin, etc.). Carotenoids have been related with beneficial properties like antioxidant, antidiabetic, antitumor or antimicrobial, so they are a natural and healthy alternative to the use of synthetic colorants. Thus, it is critical to optimize their extraction, by utilizing novel and green techniques, and their stability through encapsulation processes. This chapter aims to review natural sources of carotenoids, strategies to efficiently extract and produce them and their potential application as food colorants.