Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 855–862 | Cite as

Determination of canthaxanthin in the red coral (Corallium rubrum) from Marseille by HPLC combined with UV and MS detection

  • Jelena Cvejic
  • Sylvie TambuttéEmail author
  • Severine Lotto
  • Momir Mikov
  • Ivan Slacanin
  • Denis Allemand
Research Article


Corallium rubrum is the most famous and precious coral due to the intense characteristic red colour of its skeleton. We have determined the presence of carotenoids in natural samples of C. rubrum from Marseille, Riou, and investigated their chemical composition. Analysis was performed both on soft tissues and hard tissues including spicules and skeleton. Since hard tissues are made of a mineral fraction and an organic fraction obtained after demineralization, extraction was performed both with and without demineralization by EDTA. The extracts were analyzed by complementary methods of TLC, HPLC/DAD and HPLC/MS. The components were separated by RP-18 chromatography column using acetonitrile/methanol for HPLC/DAD and acetonitrile/water gradient for HPLC/MS analysis. Our results give the first evidence of the presence of canthaxanthin, 4,4′-diketo-β-carotene, as the major carotenoid in all samples. Spicules exhibited higher content in carotenoids than skeleton. Demineralization treatment improved the efficiency of carotenoid extraction by an average factor of 5 and showed that organic matrix contains canthaxanthin.


Carotenoid Astaxanthin Hard Tissue Organic Matrix Axial Skeleton 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dominique Prudon, Catherine Balme and DIMAR for providing coral samples. We are grateful to Dominique Desgré for coral maintenance. We thank Christine Ferrier-Pagès, Natacha Caminiti, Eric Tambutté, Aurélie Moya and Didier Zoccola for fruitful discussions. This study was conducted as part of the Centre Scientifique de Monaco research program, funded by the Government of the Principality of Monaco and by the Company Van Cleef and Arpels. The Company Van Cleef and Arpels supports the research on red coral through an agreement established with the Centre Scientifique de Monaco.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelena Cvejic
    • 1
  • Sylvie Tambutté
    • 2
    Email author
  • Severine Lotto
    • 2
  • Momir Mikov
    • 3
  • Ivan Slacanin
    • 4
  • Denis Allemand
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Department of PharmacyLaboratory for Pharmaceutical and Natural Products AnalysisNovi SadSerbia
  2. 2.Centre Scientifique de MonacoMonacoMonaco
  3. 3.School of PharmacyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  4. 4.ILISBienneSwitzerland

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