Anthraquinones, the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of the food pigment family

Abstract : Anthraquinones constitute the largest group of quinoid pigments with about 700 compounds described. Their role as food colorants is strongly discussed in the industry and among scientists, due to the 9,10-anthracenedione structure, which is a good candidate for DNA interaction, with subsequent positive and/or negative effect(s). Benefits (Dr Jekyll) and inconveniences (Mr Hyde) of three anthraquinones from a plant (madder color), an insect (cochineal extract) and filamentous fungi (Arpink Red) are presented in this review. For example excellent stability in food formulation and variety of hues are opposed to allergenicity and carcinogenicity. All the anthraquinone molecules are not biologically active and research effort is requested for this strange group of food pigments.
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Laurent Dufossé. Anthraquinones, the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of the food pigment family. Food Research International, Elsevier, 2014, 65, Part B, pp.132--136. ⟨10.1016/j.foodres.2014.09.012⟩. ⟨hal-01188096⟩

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