HPLC characterization of betalains from plants in the Amaranthaceae

Yizhong Cai, Mei Sun, Harold Corke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


HPLC characterization of reversed-phase (RP) high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) has been widely used in separation and identification of plant pigments. An effective RP-HPLC-based method is established to systematically isolate, identify, and quantitate the betalain pigments in the plants of 37 species of eight genera in the Amaranthaceae. A total of 16 betacyanins and three betaxanthins are characterized mainly using the RP-HPLC method and also with the aid of mass spectroscopy. The identified betacyanins include eight amaranthine-types, six gomphrenin-types, and two betanin-types. They are also divided into six simple (nonacylated) betacyanins and 10 acylated betacyanins. Acylated betacyanins are identified as betanidin 5-O-β-glucuronosylglucoside or betanidin 6-O-β-glucoside acylated with ferulic, p-coumaric, or 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric acids. Three betaxanthins were separated from Celosia species in the Amaranthaceae and identified to be immonium conjugates of betalamic acid with dopamine, 3-methoxytyramine, and (S)-tryptophan; the latter two are found to be new betaxanthins from plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chromatographic Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


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