The total pigment concentration of saffron varies from 11.0 to 17.0% as determined by UV estimation at 440 nm. Saffron is typically used as a spice with coloring properties at levels of 1 to 260 ppm in a wide range of culinary, bakery, and confectionery preparations as well as in alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Saffron is commercially available as a loose, supple, elastic, and hygroscopic mass of filaments or as powder; it imparts a delicate balanced flavor. The coloring power is mainly attributed to water-soluble carotenoids, the crocins, which are glycosyl esters of 8,8'-diapocarotene-8,8'-dioic-acid (crocetin) (Figure 7.10). The high solubility of saffron pigments in water is a strong advantage, compared to other carotenoids that require special formulations to be soluble or dispersible in aqueous food systems, and is the reason for their great application as a food colorant. Saffron is basically used to impart a pure yellow color to rice and other foods; it is also employed as a spice. Color is the major parameter for quality grading of saffron (Table 7.15).116 Its use as a coloring agent for food in general was established in 1966 by the FDA.111

8. Tomato

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) has a high carotenoid content with lycopene the main compound (80 to 90% of total carotenoids) followed by P-carotene. New tomato varieties with high and improved content have been developed; efforts have

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