Carotenoids are plant pigments contributing to colors such as orange, yellow and bright red in many fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are of great importance for plant health. As a class of phytonutrients, they can be found in the cells of a wide range of bacteria, algae and plants. Generally speaking, carotenoid-containing foods are red, yellow or orange, but not all the time. Carotenoids are widely found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, papaya, watermelon, mangos, spinach and oranges. Though plants can generate carotenoids by themselves, animals can’t synthesize carotenoids and have to get from their diets. To be fully absorbed by the body, carotenoids need to be eaten together with fat. Up till now, more than 600 types of carotenoids are identified. Among them, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene are the most common ones in diet and the widely studied. They assist plants in absorbing light energy for photosynthesis. They also act as antioxidant to eliminate free radicals, which will damage cells through reacting with other molecules.
Carotenoids can be classified into two categories: carotenes and xanthophylls. The differences between the two groups rely on that carotenes are hydrocarbons and do not contain oxygen, while xanthophylls contain oxygen. Because of their difference in the absorption wavelength, carotenes are orange while xanthophylls are more yellow. Lutein and zeaxanthin, the most common types of xanthophylls, are the only carotenoids found in the retina and they are primarily involved in eye health. The accumulation of lutein and zeaxanthin in human retina at the macula lutea may lead to ionization and damage of the retina. It is also shown that, by inhibiting the building up of cholesterol in the arteries, lutein is involved in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene are the most common types of carotenes. Beta-carotene may protect against sunburn and lower the risk of metabolic syndrome. Some researcher found that alpha-carotene could potentially extend life. Lycopene is shown to be involved in eliminating free radicals, reducing prostate cancer risk and preventing the development of osteoporosis.
The large number of naturally occurring carotenoids, their varied concentrations and the susceptibility to isomerization and oxidation of highly unsaturated carotenoid makes the quantification of individual carotenoids a challenging task. The instability of carotenoids is the main problem in their quantification.
Creative Proteomics offers the reliable and sensitive HPLC-FD platform for the quantification of carotenoids. In our platform, precautionary measures are taken to avoid formation of artifacts. Those precautionary measures include use of high purity solvents, protection from light, avoiding contact with acid, exclusion of oxygen and completion of the analysis within the shortest possible time. All necessary measures are taken to ensure the reliability and sensitivity of carotenoids data.
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With integrated set of separation, characterization, identification and quantification systems featured with excellent robustness & reproducibility, high and ultra-sensitivity, Creative Proteomics provides reliable, rapid and cost-effective carotenoids targeted metabolomics services.