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1 December 2004 Chemical Composition and Current Distribution of “AzafráN de Bolita” (Ditaxis heterantha Zucc; Euphorbiaceae): A Food Pigment Producing Plant
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Abstract
Ditaxis heterantha Zucc. (azafrán de bolita), a plant of the Euphorbiaceae family, grows wild in the semiarid regions of Mexico. Its seeds are used by the inhabitants of the regions where it grows to give color and to enhance the flavor of food. It has been recently cultivated locally, however, the plant has not been cultivated extensively, and it is considered that this crop could have an economic potential. The purpose of this work is to validate the reported geographical distribution of the plant and its chemical composition. The endosperm of the seeds has an intense yellow color, indicating the presence of pigments of the carotenoid family. The pigment was extracted using hexane, and seven fractions were obtained by HPLC. The spectra of the fractions produce three maxima, λmax, characteristic of carotenoids. Chemical composition of the seed showed average oil content of 39.4% and 18.8% of protein. The oil and protein content are similar to that of cottonseed and sunflower seed, respectively. Its composition allows the seed to be used as a source of natural pigment, vegetable oil, and protein. The seed has a competitive price and a promising profit margin in local markets, and its cultivation requires little care, growing especially well under limited water conditions.
MaDolores Méndez-Robles, Claudia Flores-Chavira, MaEugenia Jaramillo-Flores, Ignacio Orozco-Ávila and Eugenia Lugo-Cervantes "Chemical Composition and Current Distribution of “AzafráN de Bolita” (Ditaxis heterantha Zucc; Euphorbiaceae): A Food Pigment Producing Plant," Economic Botany 58(4), (1 December 2004). https://doi.org/10.1663/0013-0001(2004)058[0530:CCACDO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 25 October 2002; Accepted: 1 April 2003; Published: 1 December 2004
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