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Silk oak flowers as a source of β-carotene

Zechmeister, L. and Polgár, A. (1941) Silk oak flowers as a source of β-carotene. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 140 (1). pp. 1-3. ISSN 0021-9258.

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The pigment of the yellow flowers of the silk oak (Grevillea robusta, Cunningham) does not appear to have been investigated heretofore. If the dried material is extracted with ether, the solution shows typical absorption maxima at 483 and 453 mµ,corresponding to the spectrum of p-carotene. The rather blurred borders of these bands indicate, however, the presence of other polyenic pigments in small quantities. After saponification a photometric analysis of the total extract gave values which would correspond to 270 mg. of β-carotene in 1 kilo of the dry flowers if no other pigments were present. After a chromatographic separation the true β-carotene content was found to be about 215 mg. per kilo. Two-thirds of this amount was isolated as crystals; lycopene or γ- and α-carotene were not present [1]. The non-carotene fraction is a complicated xanthophyll mixture in which no single compound predominates. From this fraction two very small amounts of crystalline material were isolated, one of which was kryptoxanthin and the other a new carotenoid possessing a remarkably short wave-length spectrum. For the separation and study of carotenoids contained in extracts we suggest the systematic use of the ultraviolet lamp which has been so helpful in the chromatography of colorless substances (2). Plant pigments are frequently accompanied by large amounts of colorless material which prevent the formation of sharp pigment zones in the Tswett column and thus a satisfactory separation of the components. Furthermore, the crystallization of some carotenoids may be hindered. Fortunately many such colorless substances show an intense fluorescence (3). An observation made in ultraviolet light during the chromatographic separation of the pigments may furnish a good indication of the best method and optimum extent of developing the chromatogram. The distribution of the fluorescence may also indicate the lines at which it is best to cut the column. By sacrificing small amounts of pigment large portions of colorless associated material may be eliminated in this simple way.

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Additional Information:Copyright © 1941 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (Received for publication, April 1, 1941) Gates and Crellin Laboratories of Chemistry Contribution No. 826.
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:ZECjbc41b
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6272
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:30 Nov 2006
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 23:31

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