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Black Goji Anthocyanins for Natural Food Colorant

Food Science
Food Chemistry
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES)
Giusti, M. Monica "Monica"
Tang, Peipei
Licensing Manager
Dahlman, Jason "Jay"
External Links

T2016-253 Extracted anthocyanins from Black Goji fruits (Lycium ruthenicum Murr) that can be used in the food industry as a potential source of natural color in a wide pH range.

The Need

Americans spend about 90 percent of their food budget on processed foods, almost all of which contain a plethora of additives. One of the most frequently used food additives is artificial coloring, and in the past synthetic food colorants were most popular. Increasingly however, public demand has shifted towards organic and naturally-based products, driving food producers to pursue using more natural sources for additives. Additionally, recent studies suggest that artificial food coloring can increase hyperactivity in young children. Because of the public's increased awareness of the ill-effects of artificial food colors, along with strict regulations regarding the inclusion of synthetic colors and flavors, interest in using natural colorants instead of artificial dyes has grown in the food industry.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Monica Giusti, successfully extracted anthocyanins from Black Goji fruits and tested the color characteristics in a variety of pH environments. Black Goji is a traditional Chinese herb that is popular in medical treatments for conditions such cardiovascular disease and cancer, and its health benefits are associated with the antioxidant activities of the anthocyanins that provide the black-blue color to the fruit. The results of their tests indicate that the anthocyanins are promising candidates for a natural color source in foods, exhibiting green and blue in a wide range of pH conditions without any undesirable flavor or aroma. These anthocyanins offer a natural method of enhancing the appearance of foods and increasing consumer preference towards a particular food product.

Commercial Applications

  • Food Processing
  • Food Chemistry
  • Food Science and Nutrition
    • Natural Food Colors

Benefits/ Advantages

  • Alternative to artificial food colors, which can increase hyperactivity in young children
  • Black goji has a pleasant aroma and flavor
  • Derived from an herb used for disease treatment in traditional Chinese medicine
  • Features antioxidant properties