Betalains of Celosia argentea

Phytochemistry. 2001 Sep;58(1):159-65. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9422(01)00141-8.


The betalains of yellow, orange and red inflorescences of common cockscomb (Celosia argentea var. cristata) were compared and proved to be qualitatively identical to those of feathered amaranth (Celosia argentea var. plumosa). In addition to the known compounds amaranthin and betalamic acid, the structures of three yellow pigments were elucidated to be immonium conjugates of betalamic acid with dopamine, 3-methoxytyramine and (S)-tryptophan by various spectroscopic techniques and comparison to synthesized reference compounds; the latter two are new to plants. Among the betacyanins occurring in yellow inflorescences in trace amounts, the presence of 2-descarboxy-betanidin, a dopamine-derived betacyanin, has been ascertained. The detection of high dopamine concentration may be of toxicological relevance in use of yellow inflorescences as a vegetable and in traditional Chinese medicine, common uses for the red inflorescences of common cockscomb.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthaceae / chemistry*
  • Amaranthaceae / genetics
  • Amaranthaceae / growth & development
  • Betalains
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dopamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dopamine / chemistry
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Pigments, Biological / chemistry
  • Pigments, Biological / isolation & purification
  • Plant Stems / chemistry
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / chemistry*
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / isolation & purification
  • Solvents
  • Species Specificity
  • Tryptophan / analysis
  • Tryptophan / chemistry
  • Tryptophan / isolation & purification


  • Pigments, Biological
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Solvents
  • Betalains
  • Tryptophan
  • 3-methoxytyramine
  • Dopamine