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RE: HYB: extracting pigment and Tomato red

  • Subject: [PHOTO] [iris-photos] RE: HYB: extracting pigment and Tomato red
  • From: irischapman@netscape.net
  • Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 09:23:05 -0500

I haven't tried benzene but suspect that it would work well. This would be 
after all the other pigments have been extracted with alcohol.

The pink colour is puzzling when compared to extracted pigment. 
I posted a couple of photos here a few months ago showing my extractions of 
tomatoes. I extracted the carotenes etcetera with alcohol. It took about 6 
extractions before I had most of it out. At that point the tomato paste 
remaining was  pink. I've just reattached this photo. I also have a pink iris 
petal there for comparison.

Since then I have done some further research. All tomatoes have both lycopene 
and carotene as well as perhaps some xanthophyl which in this case (tomatoes) 
is yellow. The xanthophyll are made from the carotenes which are made from 

Thus tomato red is not just lycopene in more enhanced form. It is in most 
cases lycopene plus carotene. The  yellow tomatoes you see are xanthophyll 
pigments. Actually a lot of yellow flowers of various species seem to be 
xanthophyl based.

When I have extracted the carotene etc from poppy red beards of iris I have 
been left with a pink beard. Thus it would seem that poppy red beards can be  
composed of carotene plus lycopene. Perhaps all of them are. I would like to 
try a few more before saying so but at this point the evidence certainly 
points in this direction.

The pink colour in plant cells could have something to with the structure. I 
have thought of it somewhat as looking at a light orange-pink colour through  
a kleenex tissue which could simulate a cell wall. 

The lycopene is hard to extract. It certainly holds onto the tissue strongly. 
It was fairly easy to extract from the tomato paste remains (pink) shown in 
the photo but by that point (after 6 heated alcohol extractions) the cell 
tissues had been probably well broken down. 

Hope this helps

Chuck Chapman 

   Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 08:42:09 -0500
  From: Linda Mann <lmann@volfirst.net>
Subject: Re: HYB: extracting pigment

I found the lycopene (and presumably other oil soluble pigments) are
much more stubborn to extract than the water/alcohol soluble pigments,
whether I was using warmed lamp oil or warmed safflower oil.  Some of
the pigment would come out pretty easily, but never was able to extract
all (?most) of the "pink" lycopene.

I don't own a mortar and pestle.  To mash up the flower parts, I was
using a wooden sausage grinder pusher (the wooden 'stick' used to push
meat into the grinder) that happens to be almost the same diameter as
the little glass jars containing solvent.

Is there a trick to extracting all of the pink (or other oil soluble)
pigment?  Would a 5 hour cold soak work as well as for the water/alcohol
soluble pigments?

Interesting to me that the pink color remains after the structure of the
petal and cells is mostly? partly? smashed.  Whatever makes extracted
orange red lycopene pigments appear pink would seem to be mostly in the
plastids or pieces of plastid, not related to the structure of the petal
or arrangement of cells.

Could red be the actual color of the lycopene pigment in situ and orange
be an artifact of the extractants?

<The lycopene will dissolve in benzene and in oil. Chuck Chapman>

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