The Application and Development Trends of Edible Natural Pigments

Release time:

2023-04-10 13:26

At present, food pigments are generally divided into two categories: one is artificial chemical food synthetic pigments, which mostly belong to azo type compounds and have certain toxic and side effects on the human body; The other type is edible pigments derived from natural plant roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, animals, microorganisms, etc., known as edible natural pigments.
The Application and Development Trends of Edible Natural Pigments
From the perspective of added amount, the proportion of edible pigments in food is very small, usually in the thousands, tens, or even tens of thousands of parts of the product. However, its role in other products and its application range in food are unparalleled by any other product additive. In 1979, Professor Eskin N.A.W from the United States conducted an evaluation of the impact of color, aroma, and structure on products and pointed out that although the amount of edible pigments used is very small, the color score accounts for about 45% of the total quality evaluation indicators of food. This theoretically supports the most direct and traditional evaluation standards for food that have been in use for hundreds of years. This standard is: to measure the quality of a product, the first thing to consider is its color, aroma, and taste, and the color is the first priority. From a practical perspective, it is the various colors of red, orange, yellow, green, and purple that make up the colorful food on the current market, and also enrich the colorful social life. It can be asserted that with the progress of human society and the improvement of people's material living standards, as well as people's desire and pursuit of their own health, the variety and application fields of edible natural pigments will continue to expand, the quality and functional effects on the human body will continue to strengthen, and the consumption of natural pigment products will be long-lasting and have broad prospects.
The Historical Evolution of Natural Pigments
It can be said that the use of color is one of the signs of human progress. When people leave the Primitive Society and have a desire for beauty, they have the practice of using pigments. For example, in the Ming Dynasty, it was a common phenomenon for fashionable women in the court and among the people to use the root bark of the purple grass plant to dye their nails for decoration; There is also a widely used method of dyeing hand-woven white cloth with the shells of red sorghum to make bride's wedding clothes, bedding, etc; Also, add red rice or some colored plant leaves or juices to dishes and meals. With the progress of society, the use of natural pigments has gradually become popular in the food and cosmetics industries, and the use technology has gradually improved. Natural pigments have gradually become an indispensable part of beautifying life. This situation continued until the emergence of artificial synthetic pigments in society in the mid-19th century.
In 1856, Professor W.H. Perkins of the United Kingdom invented ********************* synthetic organic pigment "Mauveine". With the rapid development of industrial production, many organic pigments were successively synthesized. Due to a series of advantages such as bright color, strong coloring power, good stability, uniform quality, easy dissolution and color matching, and industrial scale production that greatly reduces costs, these synthetic pigments quickly replaced natural pigments and have been widely used in food and other industries. The variety quickly reached over a hundred, and the yield is also constantly increasing. According to relevant material statistics, at that time, the annual growth rate of synthetic organic pigments in some countries in Europe, Asia, and North America was over 2%, while in some countries in South America, Asia, and Africa, the annual growth rate exceeded 7%. Taking the United States, which has a more developed food industry, as an example, the production reached over 2000 tons in 1982. This growth lasted for about 100 years. It can be said that the more than 100 years since Professor Perkins invented the first synthetic organic pigment in 1856 were a period of rapid development of synthetic pigments, as well as a period of rapid development of the food industry from small to large. During this period, synthetic pigments produced industrially basically replaced natural pigments.
After entering the 20th century, with the continuous development of toxicology and analytical chemistry, human gradually understood the transformation mechanism of synthetic pigments after entering the human body, recognized that most of the synthetic pigments have relatively serious chronic virus, teratogenicity and carcinogenicity to human body, and began to conduct toxicological and genetic research on synthetic pigments again. Countries around the world have invested enormous manpower and financial resources, and have formulated relevant regulations and regulations to strictly limit the varieties of synthetic pigments whose safety is still unclear.
Prominent example: After a series of regulations were promulgated in the United States, an amendment was added in 1958, stating that when a food additive, regardless of the dosage used, is found to cause cancer in experimental animals, its use is prohibited. In 1969, the then President of the United States ordered a 50 year literature review of the additives used and a statistical survey conducted by the Academy of Sciences to determine the amount of each additive consumed per person per day. So far, this work is still ongoing, costing over 90 million US dollars alone, and requiring certain varieties to be discontinued before toxicological testing is conducted.
On the basis of strict restrictions on the types and amounts of food additives used, Japan began conducting chronic toxicity tests on more than 30 food additives in 1974, and all relevant varieties that were confirmed to have positive carcinogenic tests were prohibited from use. At the same time, in order to increase the safety of food additives, the National Institutes of Health of Japan spent 12.5 million US dollars to establish the world's most modern safety biological testing and research center in 1978. The building area is 7221 square meters, and the animal room is absolutely sterile. The temperature, humidity, and ventilation are all controlled by electronic computers. Toxicity tests are conducted simultaneously in rats and mice, and subacute tests are conducted first, Take 1/2-1/4 of the maximum non action as the chronic experimental dose.
In 1958, the toxicity test of the synthetic pigment cream yellow was carried out by the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and it was found that it was carcinogenic to mice. In 1959, under the leadership of the National Science and Technology Commission, an investigation was conducted into the production, inventory, sales, and use of artificial synthetic pigments in various cities. Any artificial synthetic pigments suspected of toxicity or unclear chemical structure were immediately notified for destruction or diversion. In 1960 and 1989, China underwent two strict re approvals for the use of synthetic pigments, from variety to quantity.
Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, as well as some countries in Africa and Asia, have successively formulated a series of laws and regulations on the use of synthetic pigments.
The FAO/WHO Food Additives Special Committee has held several joint expert committees on food additives to review and demonstrate each variety of food additives, especially synthetic pigments.
Due to the in-depth research on the safety of synthetic pigments, it is found that many synthetic pigments are toxic to human body, and some varieties can form carcinogen in human body. Therefore, countries around the world and the World Health Organization have formulated and promulgated a series of laws and regulations, so that many toxic synthetic varieties have been removed from the blacklist of countries that permit their use. There are currently limited varieties of edible synthetic pigments. For example, when synthetic pigments were used the most in various countries around the world, there were over 100 varieties. However, there are only 7 varieties left in the United States, 8 in China, 22 in the UK, 12 in Japan, and 10 in the Czech Republic. Sweden, Finland, Norway, India, Denmark, France, and other countries have already banned the use of diazo pigments, and some countries such as Norway have completely prohibited the use of any chemical synthetic pigments.
In this situation, especially since the United States banned the use of synthetic pigment amaranth in 1976, countries around the world have begun to attach importance to the development and application of natural pigments and non-toxic and harmless food additives, and quickly sparked a wave of research and development of natural pigments.
With the further development of human science and technology, artificial synthetic pigments that have been used for over a hundred years are being or will gradually be replaced by edible natural pigments derived from plants, animals, and microorganisms.
2. Application and Development Trends of Edible Natural Pigments
With the psychological demands of people advocating nature and pursuing health and safety first, as well as the need for a globalized economy faced by China's entry into the WTO, the development of edible natural pigments has become more rapid. According to data statistics, from 1971 to 1981, there were 126 patents for edible pigments publicly published worldwide, of which 87.5% were edible natural pigments.
2.1 Dramatic increase in usage
In 1995, Japan consumed 23604t of natural pigments for consumption, while only 186t of synthetic pigments were consumed. Currently, there are 45 factories in Japan that produce natural pigments for consumption. In 1976, the use of natural pigments in the United States was over 4500 tons, which is five times that of chemically synthesized pigments. In 1996, the production of synthetic pigments in China was about 800 tons, while the production of edible natural pigments reached about 100 million tons. Currently, there are over a hundred factories in China that produce edible natural pigments.
2.2 Variety
At present, there are over 100 types of edible natural pigments that have been developed internationally. There are a total of 47 officially approved (1998) by China, approximately 102 allowed by Japan, 13 by the European Community, and 26 by the UK.
2.3 Rapid increase in output value
The total amount of edible pigments worldwide is about 1.34 billion US dollars, of which synthetic pigments are about 400 million US dollars and natural pigments are about 940 million US dollars. In recent years, the growth of synthetic pigments has not been significant, while the consumption of natural pigments is increasing at a rate of approximately 4% per year.
2.4 Rich raw materials
The raw materials for extracting edible natural pigments are mostly plant-based, mainly including: (1) extracting edible natural pigments from artificially planted plants, such as chili red pigment, radish red pigment, beet red pigment, turmeric pigment, safflower pigment, black rice pigment, and red rice pigment; (2) Extracting edible natural pigments from agricultural by-products or waste, such as sorghum red pigment β- Carrot pigments, purple corn pigments, corn yellow pigments, grape skin pigments, orange skin pigments, peanut underwear pigments, purple grass red pigments, plant charcoal black pigments, and smoke pigments; (3) Extract and use natural pigments from wild plants and berries, such as blueberry red pigment, black currant pigment, blueberry fruit pigment, mulberry pigment, seabuckthorn yellow pigment, madder pigment, black cherry pigment, maple leaf melanin, and marigold pigment. The above resources are inexhaustible in our country. If they can be scientifically and reasonably applied, it can not only greatly reduce the cost of consuming natural pigments and increase economic income, but also have potential significance for the adjustment of the national agricultural planting structure.
2.5 Beneficial to Health
Most natural pigments are anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carrot compounds. Therefore, consuming natural pigments is not only non-toxic and harmless, but many of them contain essential nutrients for the human body, or are themselves vitamins or substances with vitamin properties. Some natural pigments also have certain pharmacological functions and have preventive and therapeutic effects on certain diseases. Therefore, consuming natural pigments not only has coloring effects, but also has functions such as enhancing human function, health care, and disease prevention.
2.6 Research Trends
The resources of edible natural pigment raw materials are extensive, and the colors are colorful. How to choose varieties with abundant resources, low cost, stable pigments, bright colors, non-toxic and harmless, and market demand is the most urgent task for scientific researchers. Research on the stability of existing natural pigments to light, heat, pH, and metal ions, as well as extraction processes and methods, by utilizing new resources to extract new varieties.
More than a decade ago, only Coca Cola Company in the United States had commercial natural ingredients β- The internationally patented technology for water-soluble carotene products, priced at tens of thousands of RMB/kg, has been developed in China in recent years through fermentation β- Carotene, with a content of 90%, is priced at 11000 yuan/kg. Recently, Changzhou Fushi Biotechnology Co., Ltd. successfully extracted jujube red pigment from jujube skin, which is a major breakthrough in the research of natural edible pigments.
Despite the twists and turns in the development of edible natural pigments over several years, and despite its inherent shortcomings to this day, the development and application of edible natural pigments will undoubtedly have a more shocking response to people's desire for health and a return to nature.

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