Vitamin A deficiency is a disorder of public health importance in Sri Lanka. A recent national survey revealed that 36% of preschool children in Sri Lanka have vitamin A deficiency (serum retinol <0.2 µg ml−1). In view of its well‐established association with child morbidity and mortality, this is a reason for concern. One of the main fruits which has been recommended for prevention of vitamin A deficiency in Sri Lanka is papaya (Carica papaya L). In this study the carotenoid profiles of yellow‐ and red‐fleshed papaya were analysed by medium‐pressure liquid chromatography (MPLC) and UV‐vis spectrophotometry. A section of yellow‐fleshed papaya showed small carotenoid globules dispersed all over the cell, whereas in red‐fleshed papaya the carotenoids were accumulated in one large globule. The major carotenoids of yellow‐fleshed papaya were the provitamin A carotenoids β‐carotene (1.4 ± 0.4 µg g−1 dry weight (DW)) and β‐cryptoxanthin (15.4 ± 3.3 µg g−1 DW) and the non‐provitamin A carotenoid ζ‐carotene (15.1 ± 3.4 µg g−1 DW), corresponding theoretically to 1516 ± 342 µg kg−1 DW mean retinol equivalent (RE). Red‐fleshed papaya contained the provitamin A carotenoids β‐carotene (7.0 ± 0.7 µg g−1 DW), β‐cryptoxanthin (16.9 ± 2.9 µg g−1 DW) and β‐carotene‐5,6‐epoxide (2.9 ± 0.6 µg g−1 DW), and the non‐provitamin A carotenoids lycopene (11.5 ± 1.8 µg g−1 DW) and ζ‐carotene (9.9 ± 1.1 µg g−1 DW), corresponding theoretically to 2815 ± 305 µg kg−1 DW mean RE. Thus the carotenoid profile and organisation of carotenoids in the cell differ in the two varieties of papaya. This study demonstrates that carotenoids can be successfully separated, identified and quantified using the novel technique of MPLC. Copyright © 2003 Society of Chemical Industry
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture – Wiley
Published: Sep 15, 2003
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