• Betalains
    And Analysis


Betalains are a class of water-soluble pigments found in a significant number of plants, including the beetroot and many other plants in the Caryophyllales order. The name "betalain" comes from Beta vulgaris, the scientific name for the beetroot, which is the most common source of betalains.

Betalains are divided into two categories:

Betacyanins: These pigments range in colour from violet to red. Betanin is the most common betacyanin and is responsible for the deep red colour of beets.

Betaxanthins: These pigments are yellow to orange. Indicaxanthin is a common betaxanthin found in plants like beets and Swiss chard.

Betalains play several roles in the plants where they are found:
  • Pigmentation - Betalains provide bright red to violet and yellow colours, playing a vital role in attracting pollinators.
  • Protection - Betalains help protect the plant from UV radiation damage and are involved in plant response to stress.
Betalains are mutually-exclusive with anthocyanins, another group of pigments that provide colouration to many other plants.

In addition to their roles in plants, betalains are valued for their potential health benefits. They have antioxidant properties, meaning they can protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. They may also have anti-inflammatory effects and may contribute to detoxification processes in the body. As such, they are often used as natural food colourants and in nutritional supplements.

Betalains in Different Types of Biomass


Examples of some betalains found in flowers are listed below:
  • Amaranthin - This is a betacyanin that is found in the vibrant flowers of certain Amaranthus species.
  • Betanin - This betacyanin is found in the petals of some species of ice plant (Delosperma).
  • Vulgaxanthin - This is a betaxanthin found in the flowers of Mirabilis jalapa.
  • Miraxanthiun - Another betaxanthin that can be found in flowers.

Get more info...Flowers

Fruit and Vegetables

Examples of some fruits and vegetables that contain betalains are given below:
  • Beets - One of the richest sources of betalains, especially betacyanins, which give them their characteristic deep red color. Beets also contain betaxanthins.
  • Swiss Chard - Both the red and yellow varieties of Swiss chard contain betalains. Red Swiss chard is rich in betacyanins, while yellow Swiss chard contains betaxanthins.
  • Prickly Pear - lso known as cactus fruit, prickly pears contain both betacyanins and betaxanthins. The exact amount and type depend on the variety, with red-purple varieties containing more betacyanins and yellow-orange varieties containing more betaxanthins.
  • Pitahaya (Dragon Fruit) - This tropical fruit, especially the red-fleshed variety, contains betacyanins.
  • Golden Beets - These contain betaxanthins, which provide their yellow color.
  • Rhubarb - The red stalks of rhubarb contain betacyanins.

Get more info...Fruit & Veg

Extraction of Betalains from Biomass

The extraction process, including the solvents and methods used, can influence the concentration and types of betalains present in the final extract. It is often the case that a balance needs to be found between fully-extracting all betalains while also ensuring that the compounds that are obtained are of a high quality and not degraded.

At Celignis we have extensive experience in the design and optimisation of extraction protocols for a wide variety of chemical constituents from many different biomass types. If needed we can also work on processes to separate and purify the target compounds.

Click here to read more about Celignis's Bioprocess Development Services for the extraction of chemicals from biomass.

Get more info...Biomass Extractions

Analysis of Betalains at Celignis

We have the necessary equipment and expertise to determine the amount and distribution of betalains in a wide variety of biomass samples.

Feel free to get in touch with us to request further information and a quotation.

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