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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #315229

Title: Evaluation of natural colorants and their application on citrus fruit as alternatives to citrus red II

item SUN, XIUXIU - University Of Florida
item Baldwin, Elizabeth - Liz
item RITENOUR, MARK - University Of Florida
item Plotto, Anne
item Bai, Jinhe

Submitted to: Florida State Horticultural Society Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The poor peel color of some varieties of oranges and the hybrids, especially for early season fruits, is caused by the subtropical climate of Florida, and has resulted in the use of a red dye on the peel to improve fruit appearance and marketability. Citrus Red II (CR2), the commercial citrus color aid in Florida, has been listed by the European Union (EU) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a group 2B carcinogen. Although not likely dangerous at levels used on citrus, there is a negative health perception, thus there is a need for natural or food grade colorants to replace CR2 for use on citrus. In this research, three out of five oil-soluble natural red/orange colorants, including annatto extract, paprika extract and paprika oleoresin, were selected based on their color and appearance on citrus fruit. The stability of the natural colorants along with CR2 was evaluated by applying them on test papers and then on orange fruits. All natural colorants were easily oxidized and faded when applied on test papers. However, application of a carnauba wax to cover the colorants substantially blocked the oxidation and resulting decoloration. All natural colorants showed stable colors at 5 °C and in dark condition, to simulate cold storage, however, only annatto extract maintained a stable color after storage at 23 °C and in light conditions, to simulate marketing.