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University of Nizwa obtains patent for anthocyanin food colour


The University of Nizwa obtained an Australian innovation patent on anthocyanin food colour, a substitute for synthetic colours, which have a toxic effect, and cause cancer in some cases. In Europe, synthetic colours are banned for usage in food, drugs and cosmetics. This patent drew attention to the food industry of natural colours.

In this patent, anthocyanin food colour is produced by extracting anthocyanin (purple-pink colour) from black carrot. Anthocyanin colour is known for its poor transparency and stability. To achieve the best transparency, the anthocyanin colour needs to be in a maximum purity.

By source value, berries have been and are projected to be the leading source for anthocyanin food colourants, followed by red sweet potato. Anthocyanin food colours derived from these two sources are usually added to soft drinks, beverages, confectioneries, desserts and baked goods. Anthocyanins are also used as colourants in packed foods including ice cream, sauces, fruit juices, energy drinks and salad dressings.

Dr Tanveer Alam, a Scientist in Natural Product Chemistry Labs, at University of Nizwa and Head of the Experiment Team, said, “I used microporous polymer (Translucent beads) having high surface area and got the high purity anthocyanin. The novelty of this technique is to enhance the transparency and solubility of the anthocyanin (purple-pink colour)."

Anthocyanin are the polyphenols with antioxidant activities. Eating food which is anthocyanin-rich will prevent inflammation and protect you against cancer. It also may benefit your memory and brain health. Organic anthocyanin attaches health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and respiratory disorders. This has fueled the consumption of the anthocyanin food colours market. The anthocyanin food colour market is driven by its rising demand in food and beverage industries owing to its functional properties such as being anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-diabetic and antioxidant.

Food manufacturing corporations are shifting their focus towards additives, ingredients and colourants such as anthocyanin that promote the health profile of food products, in an attempt to cope with the changing consumer preferences.

Economically, the North American anthocyanin food colours market is expected to register a 4.4-per cent CAGR between 2022 and 2032, according to Future Market Insight, a certified market research organisation.

In 2021, the North American anthocyanin food colours market was valued at $130 million and the US anthocyanin food colours market contributes over 32 per cent of the global Anthocyanin food colours market.

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