Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3835


Carotenoids: Sources, medicinal properties and their application in food and nutraceutical industry

Irwandi Jaswir1*, Dedi Noviendri1,2, Reno Fitri Hasrini3 and Fitri Octavianti4
1Department of Biotechnology Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, International Islamic University Malaysia Gombak, 53100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Republic of Indonesia, KS. Tubun Petamburan VI, 10260, Central Jakarta, Indonesia. 3Center for Agro-Based Industry, Ministry of Industry Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, Ir. H. Juanda 11, 16122, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. 4Dental Faculty, MAHSA University College, Pusat Bandar Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 December 2011
  •  Published: 31 December 2011


Carotenoids are biosynthesized by bacteria, algae, fungi, and plants, but not by animals, which must obtain them from their food. These compounds are divided into two major classes based on their structural elements; carotenes, constituted by carbon and hydrogen (e.g. b-carotene, a-carotene and lycopene), and xanthophylls, constituted by carbon, hydrogen, and additionally oxygen (for example lutein, b-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin and fucoxanthin). Carotenoids have good effect on human health, such as pro-vitamin A, antioxidant, anticancer, antiobesity effect and anabolic effect on bone components. Currently, carotenoids are used commercially as feed additives, animal feed supplements, natural food colorants, nutrient supplement and, more recently, as nutraceuticals for cosmetic and pharmaceutical purposes. These compounds can be produced commercially by chemical synthesis, fermentation or isolation from the small number of abundant natural sources. Furthermore, commercial production of carotenoids from microorganisms competes mainly with synthetic manufacture by chemical synthesis. However, most of the commercially used carotenoids (for example β-carotene, astaxanthin and cantaxanthin) are produced by chemical synthesis.


Key words: Carotenoid, food industry, nutraceutical, food colorant, feed supplement, pro-vitamin A, antioxidant, anticancer, antiobesity effect.