Beta Carotene Lab Report

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1.0 INTRODUCTION Beta-carotene is the most extensively studied and well-known carotenoid, a class of related compounds found exclusively in plants especially fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene being initially isolated from carrots, was the first of the carotenoids to be discovered. Beta-carotene are recognizable as brightly coloured red, orange and yellow pigments, with lipophilic properties. It comes in natural where it is derived mainly from algal sources, and synthetic forms. The natural form consists of roughly equal amount of 9-cis and all-trans isomers, with small amounts of the 13-cis isomer. On the other hand, synthetic beta-carotene is primarily composed of all-trans isomer with small residues of the 13-cis isomer (Braun and Cohen,…show more content…
This is referred to compounds that can serve as a naturally occurring precursor to vitamin A. Beta-carotene has been termed the most active of the carotenoids due to its higher provitamin A activity. Its chemical formula was discovered in 1907 and it is C40H56 (Nordqvist, 2014). Beta-carotene consists of two vitamin A (retinol) molecules (Stargrove, Treasure and McKee, 2008). The long chain of alternating conjugated double bonds is responsible for the orange colour of beta-carotene as it absorbs light in the 400-500 nm region of the visible spectrum (Larsen, n.d.). Beta-carotene have been implicated in the prevention or protection against serious human health disorders such as cancer and heart disease. This is because the primary physiological function of beta-carotene include exerting antioxidant activity (Britton, 1995). A sufficient intake of beta-carotene is also essential for normal growth and development, immune system function and vision as it is the main dietary source of vitamin A as suggested by (,…show more content…
It protects against free-radical damage which can potentially increase the risk of developing certain diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Free radicals can be hazardous to the body at high concentrations although they played an important role in a number of biological processes. Free radicals are formed naturally in the body but they are unstable and are highly reactive chemicals (McLain, 2012). These reactive species are capable of damaging molecules such as DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids which leads to oxidative stress, cell damage and homeostatic disruption. In one study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researches found that people taking 15 mg of natural beta-carotene daily reduced DNA damage and enhanced DNA repair (Challem, 2005). Besides, studies done by Burton and Ingold, and Umegaki et al., shows that beta-carotene exhibits good radical-trapping antioxidant behavior and protects against chromosomal damage in humans (Burton and Ingold, 1984, Umegaki et al., 1994). This is because beta-carotene functions as a chain-breaking antioxidant rather than preventing initiation of lipid peroxidation. It stops the chain reaction by trapping free radicals which halts the progression of free radical activity (Stargrove, Treasure and McKee, 2008). Therefore, it is reasonable to speculate that beta-carotene exert antioxidant activity and could give

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