Characterization of the behavior of carotenoids from pitanga (Eugenia uniflora) and buriti (Mauritia flexuosa) during microemulsion production and in a dynamic gastrointestinal system

  • Paulo BerniEmail author
  • Ana Cristina Pinheiro
  • Ana Isabel Bourbon
  • Maura Guimarães
  • Solange G. Canniatti-Brazaca
  • Antonio A. Vicente
Original Article


Uncommon tropical fruits are emerging as raw-material for new food products with health benefits. This work aimed at formulating and processing microemulsions from pitanga (Eugenia uniflora) and buriti (Mauritia flexuosa) fruits, since they are very rich in carotenoids (particularly lycopene and β-carotene), in order to encapsulate and increase carotenoids’ bioaccessibility. Pitanga and buriti microemulsions were produced by applying a direct processing (high-speed homogenization at 15,000 rpm and ultrasound with 20 kHz probe at 40% amplitude) of the whole pulp together with surfactant (Tween 80 or Whey Protein Isolate at 2%) and corn oil (5%). All treatments (HSH—US for 0–4, 4–0, 4–4, 4–8 min–min) applied were able to increase the amount of carotenoid released. However, the processing also decreased the total amount of carotenoids in the whole pulp of studied fruits. The impact of processing during microemulsion production was not severe. The overall data suggest that the presence of surfactant and oil during processing may protect the carotenoids in fruits and microemulsions. Final recovery of total carotenoids, after passing the samples through a dynamic gastrointestinal system that simulates the human digestion, was higher for microemulsions than for whole pulps. High losses of total carotenoids in buriti and β-carotene and lycopene in pitanga occurred during jejunum and ileum phases. The present work confirms that it is possible to increase β-carotene and lycopene bioaccessibility from fruits by directly processing microemulsions (p < 0.01).


Dynamic digestive system Tropical fruits Bioavailability Beta-carotene Lycopene Structure design 



This work was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP through research funding [Grant #2015/15507-9] and Ph.D. scholarship for Paulo Berni [Grant #2014/15119-6] and a Research Internships Abroad (BEPE) support [Grant #2016/13355-0]. The author Ana C. Pinheiro is recipient of a fellowship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) [Grant SFRH/BPD/101181/2014].


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Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agri-Food Industry, Food and Nutrition, Luiz de Queiroz College of AgricultureUniversity of São PauloPiracicabaBrazil
  2. 2.Centre of Biological EngineeringUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto de Biologia Experimental e TecnológicaOeirasPortugal

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