As part of a screening program to identify micronutrient-rich banana and plantain (Musa) varieties, a simple, robust, and comparatively rapid protocol for the quantification of the provitamin A carotenoids contents of fruit pulp and peel tissues by HPLC and by spectrophotometry has been developed. Major points to note include the use lyophilisation and extensive tissue disruption procedures to ensure quantitative recoveries, and the avoidance of saponification and/or concentration steps which lead to significant losses of provitamin A carotenoids. The protocol showed excellent reproducibility between replicate extractions, without the need for an internal standard. Application of the methodology demonstrated that Musa fruit pulp has a relatively simple provitamin A carotenoids content, quite different from the overlying peel, and that the proportions of greek small letter alpha- and β-carotene are characteristic for each genotype. The protocol was also used to profile the provitamin A carotenoids of several other fruits.
Journal of Chromatography A (2006) 1136 (2) 176-184 [doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2006.09.077]