160f b-apo-8’-Carotenoic Acid Methyl

Posted 21 Oct 2023
160f b-apo-8’-Carotenoic Acid Methyl

What is b-apo-8'-Carotenoic Acid Methyl or Ethyl Ester, and where is it used? b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl or ethyl ester, classified under the code E160f, is a food preservative and colourant commonly used in the food industry [1,2]. It belongs to the carotenoid family and is derived from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables. This additive plays a dual role. Firstly, it acts as an antioxidant to protect food from oxidative damage, and inhibits the growth of microorganisms, thus preserving the quality and safety of food. Secondly, it serves as a food colourant to deliver a vibrant orange to sauces, dressings, confectionaries, and beverages, elevating an appetising appearance. b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl ester and b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid ethyl ester are two forms of this food additive, each with its own characteristics and applications [3]:

  • Methyl Ester: b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl ester is obtained by esterifying the carotenoid compound with methanol. It is commonly used in fat-based food products such as margarine, spreads, and oil-based dressings. The methyl ester form provides better solubility in lipid-based matrices, allowing for easier incorporation into these products.

  • Ethyl Ester: On the other hand, b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid ethyl ester is obtained by esterifying the carotenoid compound with ethanol. This form is often used in water-based food products such as beverages, syrups, and aqueous sauces. The ethyl ester form exhibits improved solubility in water, making it suitable for applications where water-based systems are involved.

It is important to note that the choice between methyl and ethyl ester forms depends on the specific food product and its formulation requirements.

Purported Health Implications

While b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl or ethyl ester is primarily used as a food preservative and colourant, it is important to note that it is not typically associated with specific health benefits. Carotenoids, including b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl or ethyl ester, are known for their antioxidant properties, which may have positive effects on overall health [4,5].

Recommendations for Safe Consumption

b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl or ethyl ester has undergone rigorous safety assessments by regulatory authorities, ensuring its suitability for use in food products. 

  • Regulatory Approval: b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl or ethyl ester has been evaluated and approved by regulatory authorities such as Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and other relevant bodies [6,7]. These approvals specify the permitted levels of usage to ensure the safety of food products.

  • Dietary Intake: The overall dietary exposure to b-apo-8’-Carotenoic acid methyl or ethyl ester is considered to be within safe limits [8,9]. Consumption primarily comes from food sources, and the usage levels of this additive are regulated to ensure its safety.


  1. Hammond DA. Analysis of soft drinks and fruit juices. Chemistry and Technology of Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices. 2016 Feb 26:231-89.

  2. Larsen E, Abendroth J, Partali V, Schulz B, Sliwka HR, Quartey EG. Combination of Vitamin E with a Carotenoid: α‐Tocopherol and Trolox Linked to β‐Apo‐8′‐carotenoic Acid. Chemistry–A European Journal. 1998 Jan;4(1):113-7.

  3. Schwartz SJ, Von Elbe JH. Quantitative determination of individual betacyanin pigments by high-performance liquid chromatography. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 1980 May;28(3):540–3.

  4. Stahl W, Sies H. Antioxidant activity of carotenoids. Molecular aspects of medicine. 2003 Dec 1;24(6):345-51.

  5. Eggersdorfer M, Wyss A. Carotenoids in human nutrition and health. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics. 2018 Aug 15;652:18-26.

  6. Food additives -alphabetical list Food additives -alphabetical list [Internet]. 2019. Available from: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/additives/additiveoverview/Documents/Food%20additives%20-%20alphabetical%20May%202019.pdf

  7. Safety and efficacy of ethyl ester of β-apo-8’-carotenoic acid as a feed additive for poultry for fattening and poultry for laying | EFSA [Internet]. www.efsa.europa.eu. 2016 [cited 2023 Oct 13]. Available from: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4439 

  8. Astorg P. Food carotenoids and cancer prevention: an overview of current research. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 1997 Dec 1;8(12):406-13.

  9. Scotter MJ, Castle L, Croucher JM, Olivier L. Method development and analysis of retail foods and beverages for carotenoid food colouring materials E160a (ii) and E160e. Food Additives & Contaminants. 2003 Feb 1;20(2):115-26.


We do our best to source robust information from a number of credible sources.  There is, however, a large amount of information on various aspects of nutritional elements along with  claims in terms of their contribution to helping in body health which may contradict the above.