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Chlorophylls and their Derivatives Used in Food Industry and Medicine

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 13 ]


Katalin Solymosi and Beata Mysliwa-Kurdziel*   Pages 1194 - 1222 ( 29 )


Background: Thylakoids and chloroplasts harbor several vital metabolic processes, but are most importantly associated with photosynthesis. The undisturbed functioning of this process necessitates the ceaseless synthesis of photosynthetic pigments, including closed tetrapyrroles such as chlorophylls (Chls). Chls probably represent the most abundant natural pigment molecules which are via photosynthesis not only crucial for the autotrophic production of food sources for heterotrophic organisms but have also contributed to oxygen production essential for aerobic metabolism.

Objectives: This review first briefly discusses the physico-chemical properties, biosynthesis, occurrence, in vivo localization and roles of the different Chl pigments. Then we provide a detailed overview of their potential applications in the food industry and medicine. These include the use of Chls and their derivatives (different chlorophyllins) as food colorants (identified as E140 and E141 in the European Union). Different sources used for industrial extraction as well as different factors influencing pigment stability during processing are also critically reviewed. The problems surrounding the nomenclature, the production and the composition of different chlorophyllin mixtures are also discussed. Finally, a comprehensive overview of the health benefits and potential medicinal applications of these pigments and the future directions of research in these fields are provided.


Antioxidant, cancer, chemoprevention, chlorophyll, chlorophyllin, food colorant, photodynamic therapy.


Department of Plant Anatomy, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Department of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, Krakow, 30-387

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