The Ohio State University Corporate Engagement Office

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Use of Pyranoanthocyanins as a Stable Natural Colorant

Food Science
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES)
Farr, Jacob
Giusti, M. Monica "Monica"
Licensing Manager
Flammang, Ann Marie

T2017-385 A stable natural colorant derived from fruit and vegetable pigments, with enhanced resistance to bleaching for food applications.

The Need

Anthocyanins are pigments in fruits and vegetables that have application as a natural colorant in foods. Their use in juices and beverages, currently the largest market for synthetic dyes in the food industry, is limited due to the fortification of Vitamin C which results in rapid color loss, known as bleaching. Anthocyanin-based compounds that have enhanced color protection are needed in order to expand the use of these beneficial compounds in the food industry.

The Technology

Inventors at The Ohio State University have developed pyranoanthocyanins that have limited color loss when applied as a colorant in beverage applications. The researchers showed that the reaction of anthocyanins with pyruvic acid successfully produced pyranoanthocyanins that blocked the specific site of bleaching that is common when conventional anthocyanins are mixed with vitamin C. Formation of pyranoanthocyanins extended the half-life of color up to 13 times compared to conventional anthocyanin-vitamin C mixtures. This technology has excellent potential to expand the use of anthocyanins as natural food colorants in the food and beverage industry.

Commercial Applications

  • Natural food colorants


  • Extended half-life of the color up to 13x as compared to that of anthocyanins against vitamin C color loss
  • Enhanced color protection and resistance against loss of pigmentation