Handbook on Natural Pigments in Food and Beverages: Industrial Applications for Improving Food Color
It can be used in a wide variety of bacterial cells such as Corynebacterium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Clostridium, Lactobacillus, Mycobacterium and Streptomyces , genetically modifying them to produce metabolites such as biofuel, biochemical, pharmaceutical precursors, or any other significant metabolite The CRISPER system has been used in the industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae , as it is one of the most noticeable cell factories for the industrial production of a large number of products.
Metabolic engineering in filamentous fungi have been extremely tough due to various reasons such as a lack of genetic markers and even when they are available, it remains a tedious process because of low gene-targeting frequencies. Nielson et al. They showed that is was useful in an extensive array of filamentous fungi They even used the same system in Talaromyces atroroseus , which is a major natural red color producer in the food industry. To be industrially useful, microbial pigments need to be stable against environmental factors like light, pH, temperature, UV, and food matrices.
Many microbial pigments are rendered useless because of their instability against ambient conditions and have short shelf life. There are various techniques available that can produce a more stable natural pigment, which has a higher shelf life and market value in terms of the cost-effective stability measures taken. Micro-encapsulation and nano-formulations can be applied to stabilize, improve solubility and deliver natural pigments to food matrices.
Natural colors like anthocyanins and carotenoids, have stability issues in various environmental conditions and also present solubility problems in some matrices Micro-encapsulation can be defined as packing any solid, gas or liquid in sealed capsules of sizes ranging from millimeters to nanometers The core or the active compound becomes the packaging material, in this case the microbial pigment and the packaging material, is called the wall or shell material The wall material used should have emulsifying properties, low viscosity, be biodegradable, should have film forming properties, should resist GIT, be low cost and should show low hygroscopicity There are various wall materials that are currently used to encapsulate microbial pigments for use as food color such as maltodextrins, modified starch, inulin, furcellaran and others Encapsulated colors are easier to handle, have better solubility, and show improved stability to ambient conditions, leading to an increased shelf life.
The wall material protects the active core material from light, temperature, oxygen, humidity, and matrix interactions. The major objectives of encapsulating microbial pigments and their application in the food industry are: Increasing shelf life, protecting the core material from undesirable environmental conditions, ease, and flexibility of handling and controlling the release time of the pigment and suppressing any type of aroma or flavor. Various methods of micro-encapsulation are available. Prominent examples used in the food industry are spray-drying, coacervation, freeze-drying and emulsion formation.
There are numerous reports on encapsulated microbial pigments, such as anthocyanin, in which maltodextrin has been micro-encapsulated as the wall material, using spray-drying B-Carotene has been reported to be encapsulated in modified starch as the wall material using freeze drying These encapsulated colors have also been applied in food and beverage systems like yogurt, soft drinks, cake, and others, and these have shown to be stable and effective — Nano-encapsulation or nano-emulsions are droplet size, nm or less, and can also be prepared to encapsulate microbial pigments.
Nano-emulsions contain three constituents, water, oil, and emulsifier. The addition of an emulsifier is the most critical step in forming a nano-emulsion, as it helps to decrease the tension between the water and oil phases of the emulsion.
It also stabilizes the nano-emulsion by negating the steric hindrance and repulsive electrostatic interactions. The emulsifiers used are mostly surfactants, but proteins and lipids are also used.
Compared to micro- and macro-emulsions, nano-emulsions have improved applications because of their large surface area per unit, stronger kinetic stability and resistance to any chemical or physical change Importantly, nano-emulsions, and nano-capsules are small enough to be invisible in solutions and are therefore useful vehicles for the dispersion of poorly water-soluble pigments in aqueous solutions.
Creating nano-emulsions for food colorants can provide various advantages. The small sized droplets that are made in the formation of nano-emulsions provide a much greater surface area and therefore greater absorption. These nano-emulsions also are non-irritant in nature and non-toxic, making them suitable for food industry use.
These can also be formulated in a wide range of formulations such as creams, liquids, sprays, and foams. Nano-emulsions create no undesired taste to the food particle and stabilize the colorant within the emulsion from all environmental conditions Nano-emulsions of food colorants can significantly decrease the amount of colorant needed to obtain the desired color food particle, thereby proving to be cost effective.
Qian et. Natural foods are an important and growing food category that require natural ingredients and additives. Subsequently, there is a great demand to replace synthetic pigments with natural pigments in food and beverages. Microbial sources are particularly useful as they can be scaled-up and are more readily manipulated than plants or insects. Development and integration of advancements like strain development in fermentations, systems biology, metabolic, and protein engineering, can make a substantial difference in both the quality and quantity of natural food colors.
Efficient fermentations include predictable yields and no external influence of the climate or environment. However, further research is required to optimize pigment characteristics, like composition and yield, by finding the most optimized parameters for growth, use of genetically modified organisms to enhance production, and also the presence of various elicitors for pigment production Metabolic engineering is useful but has its own regulatory challenges. In terms of technology, metabolic engineering can improve product yields, enable the transfer of pathways from slow growing organisms to faster growing ones, and enable directed biosynthesis of analogs of a pigment, to modify color or other properties.
Cell factories can be created by utilizing CRISPER-Cas9 and heterologous expression of biosynthetic pathways from known or novel pigment producers can provide useful strategies , Poor stability or low solubility of natural food colorants can be addressed by techniques like micro-encapsulations and nano-formulations, enabling a wider application of microbial pigments to various food matrices. Encapsulated colors are easier to handle, have better solubility and show improved stability to ambient conditions, which lead to an increased shelf life.
Table of Contents
Nano-emulsions can be used to improve solubility and provide invisible particles that are useful in the coloring of clear and semi-clear beverages. The current range of natural colors that can be added to foods is relatively small compared to the large range of synthetic colors. However, demand for natural foods and natural colors is increasing. The discovery of new and novel natural colors is therefore important, as is the development for technologies to improve the cost effectiveness of production and formulation of natural pigments.
New natural sources to obtain pigment producing micro-organisms are required, as well as process improvements to make these strains more cost competitive with synthetic pigments. The technology required includes the development of low-cost organic substrates for the growth of pigment producing microbes, newer methods to increase the production of pigments, and stabilizing methods for improving pigment application. Research on natural pigments should focus on obtaining a wider variety of hues, using pigments with health benefits, increasing pigment shelf life, and lowering production costs.
TS drafted and edited the manuscript. CB critically revised the manuscript. SD provided critical revisions and approved the final version of the manuscript for publication. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. We thank Dr. Downham A, Collins P. Colouring our foods in the last and next millennium. Int J Food Sci Technol.
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