July 23, 2015

What are betalains?

Betalains are a group of pigments found in red beet and to some extent, in cactus fruits, pokeberries and a number of flowers (bougainvillea). More than 50 naturally occurring betalains are known.

The pigments are red and yellow and resemble the anthocyanins and flavonoids in an appearance. However the betalains contain nitrogen.
As with anthocyanin, betalains are present in flowers or fruits and may play a role as attractants for vectors in the pollination process and in seeds dispersal by animals.
Basic structure of betalains
The term ‘betalains’ was introduced by Mabry and Dreiding in 1968. They are immonium derivatives of betalamic acid.

Betalains have been proposed as a defense mechanism because they are accumulated when tissues are injured. Moreover, their appearance occurs in association with antifungal proteins in some plants.

The betalains are stable in the pH range 4-6 and they are subject to degradation by thermal processing as in canning.

Within these limitations, betalains are ideally used to color products have a short shelf life, are packaged to reduce exposure to light, oxygen and high humidity, do not received extended or high heat treatment and are marketed in the dry state.

Despite these limitations, betalains have been suggested for coloring ice cream, yoghurt, cake, mixes, gelatin, desserts, meat substitutes, gravies, frostings and many others.
What are betalains?

The Most Popular Posts

  • Soft drink consumption has seen a remarkable surge in recent decades, marking a significant trend in dietary habits. Soft drinks encompass a variety of bev...
  • Noodles, revered for their versatility and widespread consumption worldwide, boast a diverse history spanning continents and ages. Evolving from modest beg...
  • Most American today are overfed yet undernourished, which eventually leads to obesity and poor health. The answer to those pervasive problem is simply to ...