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Clin Chem. 1993 May;39(5):810-4.

Separation of beta-carotene and lycopene geometrical isomers in biological samples.

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Institut für Physiologische Chemie I, Universität Düsseldorf, Germany.


The analysis of beta-carotene and lycopene, the two predominant carotenoids in human serum and tissues, was extended to the level of geometrical (cis-trans) isomers by using an improved reversed-phase HPLC methodology. We separated five geometrical isomers of beta-carotene and seven of lycopene in human serum and tissues. 13-cis-beta-Carotene was identified as the predominant cisisomer in human serum, contributing about 5% to total beta-carotene. In tissue, however, considerable amounts of 9-cis- and traces of 15-cis-beta-carotene were also detected. In contrast to beta-carotene, the lycopene isomer patterns in human serum and tissues are quite similar.

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