Q:

What is the name of the red pigment in beetroot?

A:

Quick Answer

The red pigment in beetroot is called betalain. Betalains are divided into two groups: betacyanins, which are red to purple, and betaxanthins, which are yellow to orange. The exact shade of each variety of beet is determined by a combination of betalains.

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Full Answer

In addition to beets, some fungi and a few other flowering plants, such as cacti, carnations and some carnivorous plants, also contain betalain. Betalain is used commercially as a fabric dye and a natural food dye. It is an antioxidant and provides some protection against heart disease and some forms of cancer when it is a regular part of a healthy diet.

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