U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Resonance Raman spectroscopic evaluation of skin carotenoids as a biomarker of carotenoid status for human studies

Susan T. Mayne, Brenda Cartmel, Stephanie Scarmo, Lisa Jahns, Igor V. Ermakov, Werner Gellermann
Archives of biochemistry and biophysics 2013 v.539 pp. 163-170
Raman spectroscopy, adiposity, biomarkers, carotenoids, fruits, human genetics, humans, skin (animal), smoking (habit), vegetable consumption, vegetables
Resonance Raman Spectroscopy (RRS) is a non-invasive method that has been developed to assess carotenoid status in human tissues including human skin in vivo. Skin carotenoid status, as assessed by RRS, has been suggested as a promising biomarker for use in human studies. This manuscript describes research done relevant to the development of this biomarker, including its reproducibility, validity, feasibility for use in field settings, and factors that affect the biomarker such as diet, smoking, adiposity, and genetics. Recent studies have evaluated the response of the biomarker to controlled carotenoid interventions, both supplement-based and dietary (e.g., provision of a high-carotenoid fruit and vegetable-enriched diet), demonstrating consistent response to intervention. The totality of evidence thus supports the use of skin carotenoid status as assessed by RRS as an objective biomarker of fruit and vegetable intake, although in the cross-sectional setting, diet explains only some of the variation in this biomarker. However, this limitation is also a strength in that skin carotenoids may effectively serve as an integrated biomarker of health, with higher status reflecting greater fruit and vegetable intake, lack of smoking, and lack of adiposity. Thus, this biomarker holds considerable promise as both a health biomarker and an objective indicator of fruit and vegetable intake, supporting its further development and utilization for medical and public health purposes.