Carotenoid analysis of several dark-green leafy vegetables associated with a lower risk of cancers

Biomed Environ Sci. 1996 Dec;9(4):386-92.


We have examined the carotenoid contents of several dark green vegetables found to be associated with a lower risk of various epithelial cancers in our epidemiological study and animal study. Samples of these vegetables were quantitatively examined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) on a C-18 reversed-phase column for individual carotenoid content. Pure reference compounds (alpha-carotene, beta-carotent, lycopene, canthaxanthin, and lutein) and internal standard (beta-Apo-8'-carotenal) were employed to quantify xanthophylls and carotenes in these vegetables. The results indicated that fresh, dark-green, leafy vegetables were high in beta-carotene (0.94-9.36 mg/100 g) and oxygenated carotenoids or xanthophylls, primarily lutein (0.94-7.39 mg/100 g), whereas lycopene and alpha-carotene were not prominent and canthaxanthin was non existent in these vegetables. These analyses suggest that consumption of carotenoids such as lutein in addition to beta-carotene may be associated with a lower risk of cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / analysis*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vegetables / chemistry*


  • Carotenoids