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Study I: evaluation of curcumina levels in different accesses of curcuma (Curcuma longa L.). Study II: Extraction of curcumin


Despite of the presence of artificial food colours in a wide variety of foodstuffs, their use have been limited especially by increasing consumer rejection of artificially colored products. In contrast, food pigments from natural sources have attracted most interest due to their functional properties, recognized by different studies. Curcuma (Curcuma longa L.), a member of the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family, has been used for a long time as an ingredient and food colour purposes. Nevertheless, the curcuma characteristic odor and flavor are responsible, at the same time, to increase and to restrict the use of this substance in some kind of food preparations.Brazil is a big producer of curcuma, but the plant productivity and quality do not allow comparing the national producing with the plants from countries as India for example, the main world producer. In this way, it is important that studies being conducted in order to improve the curcuma production and to obtain the pigment (curcumin) without toxic residues of solvent allowing its use as food colouring agent and in clinical trials. This study was designed to evaluate the concentration of curcumin in 32 accesses of curcuma, which were primary characterized for their genetic and agromorphological diversities. The samples were collected from two different cultivars (Piracicaba and Monte Alegre) during the years of 2007 and 2008. In addition, the study also includes the evaluation of curcumin extraction trying to achieve a product more than 90% pure. (AU)

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