Have you ever thought of what makes your lollipop blue? Do you know where all these colors come from? Many of the dyes we use in foods come from plant pigments. Plant pigment is a protein molecule that reflects a certain color of light from the sun. Many products take these pigments and compose them into dyes for use in food. Through a process called Chromatography, plant pigments can be mixes together to create one unique color only the eye can see. To extract these colors from plant pigments for dyes, various processes can be used.
According to Boonsong, Laohakunjit, & Kerdchoechuen (2010), the main idea about this subject is to detect the presence of pigments and polyphenols (colorants) in herbal plants using ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry and HPLC for use in synthetic hair coloring products. Natural pigments and colorants are non-toxic and safe to the environment. For maximum development, plant material may be grounded in a blender and help a room temperature. To achieve complete pigment extraction, filter residue twice with the extraction solution. Methanol gives the highest percentage yield of pigments and polyphenols (colorants) when used to extract pigment. This occurs because pigments and polyphenol compounds such as flavonoids and non-flavonoids are soluble in methanol. In conclusion Boonsong, Laohakunjit, and Kerdchoechuen say methanol is the most effective solution for the extraction of natural pigments and polyphenol due to its solubility in water (Boonsong, et. al, 2015).
Another idea, by Downham & Collins (1999), is that that color suppliers constantly strive to improve technical and physical properties of their spectrum to improve the stability and meet demands on the functional additives used within color formulations. It is estimated that up to 70% of plants not fully investigated and only 0.5% exhaustively studied. Concerning anthocyanin based pigments, black carrots are a good source for its stability to heat light and SO2. To achieve stable colors from red cabbage anthocyanin, pink required a low pH, purple at pH 5-6, and blue at pH 7-8. Chemical structure and exposed environment determine the stability of plant pigments. Chlorophyll is a useful source of plant pigments because it seems to have potential agains environmental and dietary mutagens. In conclusion, Downham and Collins say that although of the many advances in food coloring, there will be more development in the field of developing stable dye colorants (Downham & Collins, 1999).
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