Fruit and food dyes: a safe source?

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Fruit and food dyes: a safe source?

Natural dyes are substances that are extracted from fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and other natural substances and can then be exploited in many ways. So let's find out how to make vegetable dyes at home starting from simple ingredients.

If we need vegetable dyes to make chores with children, prepare original food, dye clothes, give a beautiful color to our soaps or DIY cosmetics, etc. we can easily make them at home. In this way we will not only save but also avoid buying ready-made dyes that often contain chemical additives or ingredients of animal origin.
Depending on the color we need we should use different basic ingredients and the most suitable extraction method.

Could fruits be a reliable source of food colorants? Pros and cons of these natural additives, published on the Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, gives concrete results. We can read: "Color additives are important for the food industry to improve sensory quality lost during food process and to expand the variety of products.

In general, artificial colorants have lower cost and better stability than the natural ones. Nevertheless, studies have reported their association with some health disorders. Furthermore, consumers have given greater attention to food products with health beneficial effects, which has provided a new perspective for the use of natural colorants.

In this context, fruits are an excellent alternative source of natural compounds, that allow the obtainment of a wide range of colorant molecules, such as anthocyanins, betalains, carotenoids, and chlorophylls. Furthermore, in addition to their coloring ability, they comprise different bioactive properties.

However, the extraction and application of natural colorants from fruits is still a challenge, since these compounds show some stability problems, in addition to issues related to the sustainability o f raw-materials providing.

To overcome these limitations, several studies have reported optimized extraction and stabilization procedures. In this review, the major pigments found in fruits and their extraction and stabilization techniques for uses as food additives will be looked over."