MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Does any chemical react with carotene in such a way as to be able to id it?

Date: Tue Jun 1 07:54:07 1999
Posted By: Alfred Bushway, Faculty, Food Science & Human Nutrition, University of Maine
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 927677710.Ch

Hi Ryan,

The question you have asked is difficult to answer. First, apples do not 
contain high concentrations of carotenes. As you probably know the green, 
yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are highest in carotenes. I have 
discussed your question with my brother who is an analytical chemist. He 
has developed a number of methods for analyzing the carotene content of 
fruits and vegetables. He knows of no simple method for determining the 
carotene content of plant materials. There are column methods that would 
concentrate the carotenes in bands. These bands can be eluted from the 
column and the concentration determined reading the absorbance in a 
spectrophotometer using a solution of carotenes of known concentration as a 
a standard. This method does use organic solvents and requires a 
spectrophotometer which many secondary schools do not have. I know this 
does not provide you with the specific answer you requested, but I hope it 
will at least make you aware of the problems one can encounter in measuring 
the chemical content of food products.

Best of luck.

Al Bushway
Professor of Food Science

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