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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8714-9. doi: 10.1021/jf801374d. Epub 2008 Aug 27.

Influence of food acidulants and antioxidant spices on the bioaccessibility of beta-carotene from selected vegetables.

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Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570 020, India.


Four common food acidulants--amchur, lime, tamarind, and kokum--and two antioxidant spices--turmeric and onion--were examined for their influence on the bioaccessibility of beta-carotene from two fleshy and two leafy vegetables. Amchur and lime generally enhanced the bioaccessibility of beta-carotene from these test vegetables in many instances. Such an improved bioaccessibility was evident in both raw and heat-processed vegetables. The effect of lime juice was generally more pronounced than that of amchur. Turmeric significantly enhanced the bioaccessibility of beta-carotene from all of the vegetables tested, especially when heat-processed. Onion enhanced the bioaccessibility of beta-carotene from pressure-cooked carrot and amaranth leaf and from open-pan-boiled pumpkin and fenugreek leaf. Lime juice and the antioxidant spices turmeric and onion minimized the loss of beta-carotene during heat processing of the vegetables. In the case of antioxidant spices, improved bioaccessibility of beta-carotene from heat-processed vegetables is attributable to their role in minimizing the loss of this provitamin. Lime juice, which enhanced the bioaccessibility of this provitamin from both raw and heat-processed vegetables, probably exerted this effect by some other mechanism in addition to minimizing the loss of beta-carotene. Thus, the presence of food acidulants (lime juice/amchur) and antioxidant spices (turmeric/onion) proved to be advantageous in the context of deriving maximum beta-carotene from the vegetable sources.

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