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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




Health benefits



 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)




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




 Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Polar, and gives yellow to red color

Corn, kiwi, orange zucchini, spinach

Protects against (AMD) and cognition




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




apocarotenoid, water-soluble and gives an orange color

saffron (Crocus sativus. L)

antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, antidepressant, improves cognition and occurrence of autoimmune diseases




 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,





 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






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