β-Carotene is an organic, strongly colored red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. It is a member of the carotenes, which are terpenoids (isoprenoids), synthesized biochemically from eight isoprene units and thus having 40 carbons. Among the carotenes, β-carotene is distinguished by having beta-rings at both ends of the molecule. β-Carotene is biosynthesized from geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. Andβ-Carotene is the most common form of carotene in plants.
Functions and Applications
1. Beta Carotene is used as a nutritional supplement and food coloring.
2. Beta carotene is most important as the precursor of vitamin A. It also has anti-oxidant properties and may help in preventing cancer and other diseases.
3. Beta Carotene is a naturally occurring substance present in green and yellow fruits and vegetables.
4. Beta Carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and beta carotene is used as a vitamin supplement to prevent or treat vitamin A deficiency.
5. Beta Carotene can help prevent or treat reactions to the sun in some specific groups of patients.