New natural carotenoid sources. I. Carotenoid pigments of Medicago sativa L.
The carotenoid content of Medicago sativa L. harvested in May (1985) at Cluj-Napoca, Romania, have been studied. The main carotenoid pigments found were lutein and b-carotine followed, in decreasing order, by violoxanthine, cryptoxanthine, neoxanthine, zeaxanthine and neo-b-carotine. There was a high content of carotenoids with provitaminic structure (45,9%), and that of b-iononic structure, but a low content in epoxids and zeaxanthine. Only bicyclic carotenoids of alfa and beta fenonic structures have been found in stems and leaves. Due to the high biomass yield, Medicago sativa L. seems suitable for industrial carotenoid production, too.
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