Using column (CC), thin- layer (TLC) and high- performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), carotenoid content was examined in the fillets (muscles with skin) of 16 fish species from the fisheries of West African Coast. 15 carotenoids, including 6 ketocarotenoids (4’- hydroxyechinenone, canthaxanthin, phoenicopterone, phoenicoxanthin, astaxanthin, 7,8- didehydroastaxanthin) were found, with a predominance of 3,4- dihydro- α- carotene, zeaxanthin, phoenicopterone, canthaxanthin, phoenicoxanthin and astaxanthin. Total carotenoid content in the examined material ranged from 0.086 (Merluccius merluccius) to 0.352 µg g-1 wet mass (Macrurus aequalis). Also, the increase of different environmental factors- especially food, parasites and organochlorine pollution on carotenoid content in fishes and their role in human’s life was discussed.
Key words: Carotenoids, fish, fillets, fisheries, West Africa.
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