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Table 1 Pigments as a source of nutraceuticals in fruits

From: Fruit ripening: dynamics and integrated analysis of carotenoids and anthocyanins

Pigment Properties Sources Health benefits Reference
 β Carotene Cyclic carotene, non-polar, high melting point, crystalline, and gives an orange color Asparagus, apricots, broccoli, carrot, Chinese cabbage, paprika, grapefruit Precursor of vitamin A, antioxidant, lowers risk of heart diseases, cancers, boosts immune system, and protects from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) [19]
 Lycopene Non-polar, heat stable, linear structure, and gives a red color Tomato, watermelon, papaya, carrot, pink grapefruit Antioxidant, reduces risk of myocardial infarction and high blood pressure, attenuates LDL cholesterol oxidation and risks of prostate, lung, uterine and breast cancer, promotes bone health, delays neurodegeneration [21]
 Lutein and Zeaxanthin Polar, and gives yellow to red color Corn, kiwi, orange zucchini, spinach Protects against (AMD) and cognition [24]
 Bixin Apocarotenoid, sensitive to light, pH, soluble in organic polar solvents and gives a deep orange color Annatto (Bixa orellana) Anti-oxidative, anti-cancer, hypoglycemic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties [26]
 Crocin apocarotenoid, water-soluble and gives an orange color saffron (Crocus sativus. L) antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, antidepressant, improves cognition and occurrence of autoimmune diseases [28]
 Cyanidin, delphinidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin, malvidin Water-soluble, vacuolar pigments, sensitive to pH change and can appear as either red, purple, blue or black Berries, strawberry, eggplant, cherry, black grapes, red cabbage Potent antioxidant, prevents dyslipidemia and impaired glucose metabolism and possess anti-breast cancer properties, [30]
 Chlorophyll a
Chlorophyll b
Green, lipid-soluble, tetrapyrrole derivatives, light harvesting pigments, Spinach, broccoli, wheat grass, pak choi, rocket salad Chemo protector, antioxidant properties, detoxifies liver, safeguards against anaemia, and sinusitis, exhibits ergogenic effects [33]
Water soluble, vacuolar pigments, sensitive to pH, betacyanin give red to violet color, betaxanthin give yellow to orange color Red beetroot, amaranth, prickly pear, red pitaya Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, protects against skin and lung cancer, anti-microbial and anti-lipidemic [35]