CLASSIFICATION OF FOOD COLORANTS

Food colorants have been categorized on the basis of different systems as indicated in Table 6.1. In these classification structures, the same type of colorants could be arranged in different groups. However, today, the most important classification trend is based on the origin and legislations of the colorants (Delgado-Vargas, Jimenez, & Paredes-L(5pez, 2000).

Considering the origin of the naturally occurring food colorants, they are categorized into natural, synthetic, or inorganic. Natural food colors originate from a wide range of sources like vegetables, fruits, plants, minerals, and other edible natural sources. They impart color when added to foods or

TABLE 6.1 Different Systems for Classification of Food Colorants

Classification

System

Groups

Examples

Origin of colorants

Natural

Carotenoids, anthocyanins,

Synthetic

FD&Ca colorants

Inorganic

TiO2

Structural

characteristics

Tetrapyrrole derivatives

Chlorophylls and heme colors

Isoprenoid derivatives

Carotenoids and iridoids

N-heterocyclic compounds different from tetrapyrroles

Purines, pterins, flavins, phenazines, phenoxazines, and betalains

Benzopyran derivatives (oxygenated heterocyclic compounds)

Anthocyanins and other flavonoid pigments.

Quinones

Melanins

Benzoquinone,

naphthoquinone, anthraquinone

Chemical structure of the colorants

Chromophores with conjugated systems

Carotenoids, anthocyanins, betalains, caramel, synthetic pigments and lakes.

Metal-coordinated

porphyrins

Myoglobin, chlorophyll, and their derivatives

aFD&C = Certifiable colorants permitted to be used for foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

beverages. Natural colors comprise a broad range of colorants indicating divergent solubility and stability properties. So, the chemical structure and stability of the intended natural colorants should be studied prior to usage in the food products in order to adapt them to the changing circumstances during processing, packaging, and distribution (Hendry & Houghton, 1996; Blanc, 2002).

Synthetic colorants generally have a negative impact on consumers, due to the possible deleterious effects of some synthetic pigments on human health, including allergic reactions, genotoxicity, and potential carcinogenicity (Caro et al., 2012). As a result, today the public prefers to consume foods which contain natural additives and are health-promoting. Thus, over the last few years, the interest of the food industry in replacing the artificial colorants with natural ones has enhanced dramatically, which is in line with the safety and regulatory issues as well as consumer concerns (Delgado-Vargas et al., 2000; Caro et al., 2012).

Generally, concerning the chemical structure of food colorants, they can be classified into six classes, namely, heme groups, carotenoids, chlorophylls, betalains, flavonoids, and miscellaneous colorants.

 
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