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Biochemical basis of color as an aesthetic quality in Citrus sinensis

Oberholster, R., Cowan, A.K., Molnar, P., Toth, G.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2001 v.49 no.1 pp. 303-307
oranges, Citrus sinensis, color, carotenoids, biochemistry, food quality
The biochemical basis of color as an aesthetic quality in mature fruit of navel and Valencia orange (Citrus sinensis) was determined. Saponification of the two major color-imparting components resolved by thin-layer chromatography, followed by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, revealed that these comprised acyl esters of (9Z)-violaxanthin and beta-citraurin. Identification of the chromophores was based on cochromatography and online spectral analysis. The color quality of flavedo of mature fruit was dependent on the content and relative amounts of (9Z)-violaxanthin and beta-citraurin. Quantitative results revealed that increased color intensity was associated with a decline in the (9Z)-violaxanthin:beta-citraurin ratio from greater than 50 to below 10, an increase in flavedo (9Z)-violaxanthin and beta-citraurin content, and that measurement of the mass and ratio of these carotenoids can be used to accurately color-grade orange fruit for local and export markets.