Free radical mediated oxidative degradation of carotenes and xanthophylls

Raphael C. Mordi, Olabisi T. Ademosun, Christiana O. Ajanaku, Ifedolapo O. Olanrewaju, John C. Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the excited-state quenching, pro-vitamin A activity and anticarcinogenicity of carotenes and xanthophylls in relation to their chemical structures. Excited-state quenching improved with the length of the conjugated chain structure. Pro-vitamin A activity was dependent on the presence of at least one beta-ionyl ring structure. The effectiveness of carotenoids as antioxidants depended on their ability to trap peroxyl radicals with production of resonance-stabilized carotenyl radicals. The products identified from oxidations of carotenes and xanthophylls with molecular oxygen and other oxidizing agents are presented. The free radical-mediated mechanisms that have been proposed to account for the different classes of products are reviewed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1038
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020


  • Free radicals
  • Carotenoids
  • Xanthophylls
  • Oxidation
  • β-carotene
  • Canthaxanthin
  • β-ionone
  • Retinal
  • Apo-carotenoids


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