The main difference between lycopene and beta carotene is that lycopene is a bright red color carotene found in tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruits, papayas, and carrots, whereas beta carotene is a reddish-orange color carotene found in oranges, mango, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
Lycopene and beta carotene are two types of carotenes that contain more orange color pigments. They do not contain oxygen in their structure.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Lycopene
– Definition, Structure, Function
2. What is Beta Carotene
– Definition, Structure, Function
3. Similarities Between Lycopene and Beta Carotene
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Lycopene and Beta Carotene
– Comparison of Key Differences
Beta Carotene, Lycopene
What is Lycopene
Lycopene is a type of carotene that has a bright red color. It commonly occurs in tomatoes, grapefruits, carrots, watermelons, and papayas. In fact, it is responsible for the bright orange-red color in fruits and vegetables. Structural-wise, lycopene contains eight isoprene units. In addition, it contains 11 conjugated double bonds, giving it a bright red color. However, lycopene is not an essential nutrient in the human diet. The common source of lycopene is tomatoes. Most importantly, lycopene serves as a precursor for the synthesis of beta-carotene. Although it is a carotene, it does not have vitamin A activity. Other than that, lycopene serves as an intermediate for the formation of other carotenes.
Furthermore, lycopene is a tetraterpene that is insoluble in water. It is a symmetrical molecule. On the other hand, plants and photosynthetic bacteria synthesize trans-lycopene. Exposure to light allows trans-lycopene to undergo isomerization into cis-lycopene. Lycopene occurs as a photosynthetic pigment in bacteria, fungi, and algae.
What is Beta Carotene
Beta carotene is the reddish-orange color carotene, mainly occurring in mangoes, oranges, pumpkins, papayas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. The main structural feature of beta carotene is the presence of two beta-rings at both ends of the beta-carotene molecule. Beta carotene serves as the precursor for the formation of vitamin A. Beta carotene widely occurs in plant leaves. Its function in leaves is to absorb light and transfer it to chlorophyll while dissipating excess energy.
Moreover, the most abundant form of carotene is beta carotene. Structure-wise, it consists of 40 carbons arranged into eight isoprene units with beta-rings at both ends of the molecule. Beta carotene causes red-orange pigmentation in plants and fruits. Basically, some good sources of beta carotene include Vietnamese gac, crude palm oil, mangoes, pumpkin, papayas, cantaloupe, root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, etc. Vietnamese gac and palm oil are the richest sources of beta carotene, containing amounts ten times higher than carrots.
Similarities Between Lycopene and Beta Carotene
- Lycopene and beta carotene are two types of carotenes.
- They are one of the two types of carotenoids with more orange color pigments.
- Both do not contain oxygen in their structure.
- Their chemical formula is C40H56.
- They have antioxidant activity, acting against free radicals that form in the body.
Difference Between Lycopene and Beta Carotene
Lycopene refers to a red carotenoid pigment present in tomatoes and many berries and fruits, while beta-carotene is a plant pigment that is an isomer of carotene, important in the diet as a precursor of vitamin A.
Lycopene is a bright red color carotene, while beta-carotene is a reddish-orange color carotene.
Moreover, lycopene occurs in tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruits, papayas, and carrots, while beta-carotene occurs in found in oranges, mango, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
Lycopene serves as a precursor to beta carotene and xanthophyll, while beta carotene serves as a precursor for vitamin A.
Number of double Bonds
In addition, lycopene contains 13 double bonds, while beta carotene contains 11 double bonds.
Lycopene does not contain 𝛃-rings at both ends of the molecule, while beta carotene contains 𝛃-rings at both ends.
In brief, lycopene and beta-carotene are two types of carotenes that are a type of carotenoids. Lycopene is a bright red color carotene occurring in tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruits, papayas, and carrots. It also serves as the precursor for beta-carotene in the body. In addition, lycopene contains 13 double bonds, and it does not contain 𝛃-rings at both ends. On the other hand, beta carotene is the reddish-orange color carotene occurring in oranges, mango, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes. However, beta-carotene serves as a precursor for vitamin A. It contains 11 double bonds and two 𝛃-rings at both ends. Therefore, the main difference between lycopene and beta carotene is their structure and function.
- “Lycopene: Health benefits, food sources, safety information, and more.” WebMD.
- “Beta-carotene: Overview, uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, dosing and reviews.” WebMD.