Structural investigations on betacyanin pigments by LC NMR and 2D NMR spectroscopy

Phytochemistry. 2004 Feb;65(4):415-22. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2003.10.029.


Four betacyanin pigments were analysed by LC NMR and subjected to extensive NMR characterisation after isolation. Previously, low pH values were applied for NMR investigations of betalains resulting in rapid degradation of the purified substances thus preventing extensive NMR studies. Consequently, up to now only one single (13)C NMR spectrum of a betalain pigment, namely that of neobetanin (=14,15-dehydrobetanin), was available. Because of its sufficient stability under highly acidic conditions otherwise detrimental for betacyanins, this pigment remained an exemption. Since betalains are most stable in the pH range of 5-7, a new solvent system has been developed allowing improved data acquisition through improved pigment stability at near neutral pH. Thus, not only (1)H, but for the first time also partial (13)C data of betanin, isobetanin, phyllocactin and hylocerenin isolated from red-purple pitaya [Hylocereus polyrhizus (Weber) Britton & Rose, Cactaceae] could be indirectly obtained by gHSQC- and gHMQC-NMR experiments.

MeSH terms

  • Betalains
  • Cactaceae / chemistry
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods
  • Pigments, Biological / chemistry*
  • Pigments, Biological / isolation & purification
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds*


  • Pigments, Biological
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Betalains