Incorporation of bixin in aqueous media: self-formulation with sorbitol ester of norbixin

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We have previously reported how the natural food colorant, bixin, was enzymatically modified by appending sorbitol to the bixin scaffold. The resulted product, sorbitol ester of norbixin (SEN) was expected to be more hydrophilic. The present study aimed to investigate the physical behaviour of SEN in aqueous media. The property of SEN was studied together with non-reacted bixin as separation of the two compounds was unsuccessful. The SEN molecules behaved as a bolaamphiphile in aqueous media, underwent self-association and develop a hydrophilic aggregate. SEN-aggregates could uptake the non-reacted bixin molecules inside its hydrophobic moiety and dispersed it in aqueous media. Aggregation of SEN molecules with incorporated bixin resulted in a hypsochromic shift of the absorption spectra indicting H-aggregation. Dynamic light scattering showed the formation of aggregates with an average hydrodynamic radius 38 ± 2 nm. The dispersibility of the aggregates was affected by pH and the ionic strength of the media.

TidsskriftFood Chemistry
Sider (fra-til)433-439
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2019


  • Sorbitol ester of norbixin (SEN), bixin, self-formulation, food colorants, hydrophilic carotenoids

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