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Cryptoxanthin ball and stick.png
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (JSmol)
E number E161c (colours)
  • InChI=1S/C40H56O/c1-30(18-13-20-32(3)23-25-37-34(5)22-15-27-39(37,7)8)16-11-12-17-31(2)19-14-21-33(4)24-26-38-35(6)28-36(41)29-40(38,9)10/h11-14,16-21,23-26,36,41H,15,22,27-29H2,1-10H3/b12-11+,18-13+,19-14+,25-23+,26-24+,30-16+,31-17+,32-20+,33-21+/t36-/m1/s1 checkY
  • InChI=1/C40H56O/c1-30(18-13-20-32(3)23-25-37-34(5)22-15-27-39(37,7)8)16-11-12-17-31(2)19-14-21-33(4)24-26-38-35(6)28-36(41)29-40(38,9)10/h11-14,16-21,23-26,36,41H,15,22,27-29H2,1-10H3/b12-11+,18-13+,19-14+,25-23+,26-24+,30-16+,31-17+,32-20+,33-21+/t36-/m1/s1
  • O[C@@H]2C/C(=C(/C=C/C(=C/C=C/C(=C/C=C/C=C(/C=C/C=C(/C=C/C1=C(\C)CCCC1(C)C)C)C)C)C)C(C)(C)C2)C
Molar mass 552.85 g/mol
Melting point 169 °C (336 °F; 442 K)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

β-Cryptoxanthin is a natural carotenoid pigment. It has been isolated from a variety of sources including the fruit of plants in the genus Physalis, orange rind, papaya, egg yolk, butter, apples, and bovine blood serum.[1]


In terms of structure, β-cryptoxanthin is closely related to β-carotene, with only the addition of a hydroxyl group. It is a member of the class of carotenoids known as xanthophylls.

In a pure form, β-cryptoxanthin is a red crystalline solid with a metallic luster. It is freely soluble in chloroform, benzene, pyridine, and carbon disulfide.[1]

Biology and medicine[edit]

In the human body, β-cryptoxanthin is converted to vitamin A (retinol) and is, therefore, considered a provitamin A. As with other carotenoids, β-cryptoxanthin is an antioxidant and may help prevent free radical damage to cells and DNA, as well as stimulate the repair of oxidative damage to DNA.[2]

Recent findings of an inverse association between β-cryptoxanthin and lung cancer risk in several observational epidemiological studies suggest that β-cryptoxanthin could potentially act as a chemopreventive agent against lung cancer.[3] On the other hand, in the Grade IV histology group of adult patients diagnosed with malignant glioma, moderate to high intake of β-cryptoxanthin (for second tertile and for highest tertile compared to lowest tertile, in all cases) was associated with poorer survival.[4]

Other uses[edit]

β-Cryptoxanthin is also used as a substance to colour food products (INS number 161c). It is not approved for use in the EU[5] or USA;[citation needed] however, it is approved for use in Australia and New Zealand.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Merck Index, 11th Edition, 2612.
  2. ^ Lorenzo, Y.; Azqueta, A.; Luna, L.; Bonilla, F.; Dominguez, G.; Collins, A. R. (2008). "The carotenoid β-cryptoxanthin stimulates the repair of DNA oxidation damage in addition to acting as an antioxidant in human cells". Carcinogenesis. 30 (2): 308–314. doi:10.1093/carcin/bgn270. PMID 19056931.
  3. ^ Lian, Fuzhi; Hu, Kang-Quan; Russell, Robert M.; Wang, Xiang-Dong (2006). "β-Cryptoxanthin suppresses the growth of immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells and non-small-cell lung cancer cells and up-regulates retinoic acid receptor b expression". International Journal of Cancer. 119 (9): 2084–2089. doi:10.1002/ijc.22111.
  4. ^ Delorenze, Gerald N; McCoy, Lucie; Tsai, Ai-Lin; Quesenberry, Charles P; Rice, Terri; Il'yasova, Dora; Wrensch, Margaret (2010). "Daily intake of antioxidants in relation to survival among adult patients diagnosed with malignant glioma". BMC Cancer. 10: 215. doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-215. PMC 2880992. PMID 20482871.
  5. ^ UK Food Standards Agency: "Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers". Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  6. ^ Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code"Standard 1.2.4 - Labelling of ingredients". Retrieved 2011-10-27.