Vol.90, No.4, 2021, pp.1041-1062, doi:10.32604/phyton.2021.015996
Carotenoids: New Applications of “Old” Pigments
  • Stefan M. Kolašinac1, Zora P. Dajić Stevanović1,*, Sofija N. Kilibarda1,  Aleksandar Ž. Kostić2,*
1 Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, Chair of Agrobotany, Belgrade, 11080, Serbia
2 Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Belgrade, 11080, Serbia
* Corresponding Author: Zora P. Dajić Stevanović. Email: ;  Aleksandar Ž. Kostić. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant Bioactive Compounds-Chemotaxonomic Significance, Antioxidant Properties, Potential Application as Food Ingredients as well as Therapeutics, and the Analytical Technology in Their Efficient Discovery)
Received 29 January 2021; Accepted 24 March 2021; Issue published 27 April 2021
Carotenoids represent a large group of mainly red, orange, and yellow natural metabolites mainly involved in regulation of many metabolic processes. Carotenoids are beneficial for human health. Current study describes the importance, chemical composition and functioning of carotenoids. It is well known that carotenoids support pigments acting in light absorbance mechanisms during photosynthesis, and are known to protect the chlorophyll molecules from oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species (ROS) damage. Carotenoids are involved in signaling processes in plants, responses to environmental stresses, pollination, germination and reproduction, and development regulation. As nutrients of strong antioxidant activity that is primarily linked to their polyene molecular structure, the carotenoids are reported as immune-enhancement and anticancer agents, which are also involved in prevention of eye-, gastric and neurocognitive disorders, and in regulation of obesity and anti-ageing. Concerning the wide prospective applications of carotenoids as pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, there are some critical aspects associated with carotenoids’ bioavailability and challenges in their bioengineering. This mostly refers to the needs for identification and cloning of genes responsible for carotenoid biosynthesis and transformation and related development of transgenic carotenoid-rich crops. In the recent years, technologies of micro- and nanoencapsulation have addressed the needs of carotenoid entrapping to enhance their bioavailability, solubility and chemical stability, and to ensure the target delivery and manifestation of their strong antioxidant and other biological activity. Among standard and some advanced analytic tools for carotenoid determination (e.g., High performance liquid chromatography-HPLC, Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry-LC-MS, Ultra high performance liquid chromatography-UHPLC, High-performance thin-layer chromatography-HPTLC and others), the vibrational spectroscopy techniques, primarily Raman spectroscopy coupled with chemometric modeling, opened a new era in carotenoid research and application.
Antioxidant and biological activity; biosynthesis of carotenoids; encapsulation; raman spectroscopy; role in plants
Cite This Article
Kolašinac, S. M., P., Z., Kilibarda, S. N., Kostić, A. . (2021). Carotenoids: New Applications of “Old” Pigments. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 90(4), 1041–1062.
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