Enhanced anthocyanin-based colorants

The Need

The food industry is actively seeking alternatives to synthetic colorants due to consumer concerns over their safety and increasing legal challenges. Natural colorants, particularly anthocyanins found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and flowers, offer potential health benefits and a wide range of colors. However, their use in food applications is limited, primarily because of the scarcity of cis isomers in nature. There is a pressing commercial need for an efficient method to produce compositions with high proportions of cis isomers of anthocyanins, thereby enabling the substitution of synthetic food colorants with naturally-derived, safe alternatives.

The Technology

The disclosed technology offers a breakthrough method for producing photoisomerized compositions comprising anthocyanins. The process involves irradiating a composition containing anthocyanins dissolved in a solvent solution with UV light. Prior to irradiation, the anthocyanins are predominantly present as trans isomers. Through photoisomerization, a significant portion of the trans isomers is converted into cis isomers, resulting in a photoisomerized composition with improved color and stability compared to the original composition.

Commercial Applications

  1. Natural Food Dye: The photoisomerized compositions can be utilized as a safe and vibrant natural food dye, enabling food manufacturers to replace synthetic colorants with naturally-derived alternatives.

  2. Over-The-Counter (OTC) Coating: The technology can find applications in the pharmaceutical industry, where OTC products often require coloring for visual identification, providing a natural and visually appealing option.

  3. Cosmetics: The photoisomerized compositions can be incorporated into cosmetic formulations, enhancing the color range available for makeup products, such as lipsticks, eyeshadows, and nail polishes, meeting the increasing demand for natural cosmetics.


  1. Safety and Health Benefits: The photoisomerized compositions utilize naturally-derived anthocyanins, offering a safe and healthy alternative to synthetic colorants, addressing consumer concerns.

  2. Wide Color Range: By harnessing the wide range of colors available in anthocyanins, the technology allows for the creation of diverse and visually captivating products, catering to consumer preferences for appealing and enticing food and cosmetic items.

  3. Improved Stability: The photoisomerized compositions exhibit enhanced color stability, even at higher pH levels, making them suitable for various applications, including those that require extended shelf life.

  4. Eco-Friendly Solution: With the use of natural colorants, the technology supports sustainability efforts and reduces the environmental impact associated with synthetic colorants.

  5. Cost-Effective Manufacturing: The method of photoisomerization provides an efficient and scalable approach to producing compositions with high proportions of cis isomers, making it a cost-effective solution for the food and cosmetic industries.


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