Betaxanthins and antioxidant capacity in Stenocereus pruinosus: Stability and use in food

Food Res Int. 2017 Jan;91:63-71. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2016.11.023. Epub 2016 Nov 25.


Betalains are important pigments for the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industry. In the yellow Stenocereus pruinosus fruits (pitayas), total betalain concentration, Folin-Ciocalteu reduction capacity, and antiradical capacity per dry weight were 2345.9μgg-1, 7.3mg gallic acid equivalentsg-1, and 48.8μmol Trolox equivalentg-1, respectively. The stability of betaxanthins, which represent 89% of total betalains in yellow pitayas, was evaluated over a range of pH, temperature, as well as in the presence of food additives. Maximum stability was observed at pH6.6, and addition of ascorbic acid increased the half-life 1.8 times. Thermal stability at pH6.48±0.05 was also evaluated from 50°C to 80°C, over which the activation energy for betaxanthin degradation was determined to be 66.2kJmol-1. Model gelatin gummies and beverages were then prepared with pitaya juice or pulp, and pigment retention and color parameters were investigated during storage under various conditions. To match the yellow color of commercial products, gummies were supplemented with 4.6% w/w juice or pulp, and beverages were supplemented with 5% w/v juice, achieving H° values of 69.0-86.2° and 64.6-87.1°, respectively. Results indicate that betaxanthins were more stable in gummies than in beverages, and that pigment retention increased when products were stored in the dark or at low temperatures. Also, different changes in color during storage were observed between gummies and beverages.

Keywords: Betaxanthin; CIELAB color space; Food colorant; Pitaya; Stenocereus pruinosus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Betaxanthins / chemistry
  • Betaxanthins / isolation & purification
  • Betaxanthins / pharmacology*
  • Cactaceae / chemistry*
  • Color
  • Drug Stability
  • Food Coloring Agents / chemistry
  • Food Coloring Agents / isolation & purification
  • Food Coloring Agents / pharmacology*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Betaxanthins
  • Food Coloring Agents