Enzymatic esterification of anthocyanins extracted from food waste for high-value industrial application in cosmetics and food (ANTHOLIP2)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Design


Anthocyanins (ANC) are natural pigments found in fruits, vegetables and flowers. Interest in ANC has increased substantially recently as the food and cosmetics industries crave for natural ingredients to replace synthetic dyes. However, use of ANC in the foods and cosmetics presents a number of challenges including stability, compatibility with the food or cosmetic product, and achieving the desired colour. One option for improving stability and application compatibility is modifying the pigments. In our previous research we demonstrated that modifying ANC with natural fatty acids was possible, using enzymes to join the two compounds together. This follow-on project will improve these methods to develop new, high-value, naturally-derived colorants on a scale that is commercially viable for food and cosmetic applications. This project is likely to result in the commercialisation of new products with economic impact in different industrial fields benefiting the whole value chain.
Description In the work funded through this award we managed to improve and scale-up an already established protocol for the production of novel colorants. The compounds used are of natural origin, derived from blackcurrants, and they have already found application in foods and cosmetics. However, they exhibit limited stability in aqueous solutions whilst they are mainly water soluble. In this project we achieved their modification using enzymes and turned them in products more friendly to oil-based media that retain the biological properties of the parent compounds. We also achieved their production in larger scale and employed different methodologies for this purpose. Additionally, some of their biological and physicochemical properties were evaluated in due course. Novel questions that opened up in this process concern further modifications in the production protocol, for it to be even more eco-friendly and the products more suitable for use in food industry. They also concern further applications of the products in different industries, after examination of their coloration properties. Through the collaborations established in the course of this work, the researchers participating acquired knowledge of novel techniques and improved their skills on various topics.
Exploitation Route The outcomes of this funding can be ameliorated further, from a research point of view, by modifying the already established methodology and making it more eco-friendly and sustainable in the future, in accordance with the requirements of each one of the related industries. As already mentioned, the findings of this research can be really advantageous for the industrial sector, as the novel compounds produced can find application in various industries. These include - but are not limited to - Food and Drink industry as well as cosmetics. The novel colorants can also be find some application in other manufacturing areas, such as chemicals, textiles and raw materials.
Sectors Agriculture

Food and Drink



including Industrial Biotechology

Description The esterified anthocyanins that have been developed through ANTHOLIP2 are being assessed for application in cosmetics by commercial partner Keracol Limited. These are showing promising application as more stable cosmetic colorants with wider application than existing natural colorants. There is the possibility for inclusion in future commercial products.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic