Cooked carrot carotenoid content assessed by Raman spectroscopy

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  • Published: Sep 9, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Chemometrics & Informatics / MRI Spectroscopy / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / X-ray Spectrometry / Atomic / Raman / Proteomics / NMR Knowledge Base / Base Peak / Infrared Spectroscopy

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There is a widespread belief that the nutritional value of many vegetables diminishes during cooking but there is scientific evidence that carrots maintain levels of carotenoids and other beneficial compounds. Now, European scientists have used Raman spectroscopy to see what effects different types of cooking have on the levels of various carotenoids.

The contents of carotenoids in carrots have been measured previously by Raman spectroscopy but this is the first time that the technique has been used to measure their levels in frozen carrot slices after boiling, steaming and microwaving. The procedure was described in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Steaming lowered the carotenoids by 34% but the other two cooking methods had the opposite effect. These increases are thought to be caused by the release of carotenoids from the plant cellulose structure. However, within those totals, some carotenoids bucked the trend. In particular, cis-β-carotene increased after steaming.

The heat treatment shifted the vibrational frequencies of the carotenoids towards higher energies and produced broader peaks, possibly caused by the thermal degradation and isomerisation of some of them.

In theory, the method could be extended to other foods with high carotenoids contents, leading to processing methods which would maintain the bioavailability of carotenoids and their nutritional value.

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