Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 164–169 | Cite as

Carotenoid Content of Commonly Consumed Herbs and Assessment of Their Bioaccessibility Using an In Vitro Digestion Model

  • Trevor Daly
  • Marvin A. Jiwan
  • Nora M. O’Brien
  • S. Aisling AherneEmail author
Original Paper


Herbs are a rich source of bioactive phytochemicals such as carotenoids, which are known to exert various positive biological effects. However, there is very limited information in the literature regarding the content and bioavailability of carotenoids from commonly consumed herbs. Therefore, the objectives of the present study were first, to determine the carotenoid content of eight herbs namely basil (Ocimum basilicum), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), dill (Anethum graveolens), mint (Metha L.), parsley (Petroselinum crispum), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage (Salvia officinalis), and tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus L.); and second, to assess carotenoid bioaccessibility from these herbs using a simulated human in vitro digestion model. Carotenoid bioaccessibility is defined as the amount of carotenoids transferred to micelles after digestion when compared with the original amount present in the food. The content of individual carotenoids varied significantly among the herbs tested. Carotenoid bioaccessibility varied from 0 to 42.8%. Basil and coriander, and their respective micelles, contained the highest levels of β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and lutein + zeaxanthin. Our findings show that herbs are rich sources of carotenoids and that these foods can significantly contribute to the intake of bioaccessible carotenoids.


Bioaccessibility Carotenoid Content Herbs Micelles In vitro digestion 



This research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland under the PI Award 04/IN3/B509. We would like to thank Dr. Karen Galvin for her technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor Daly
    • 1
  • Marvin A. Jiwan
    • 1
  • Nora M. O’Brien
    • 1
  • S. Aisling Aherne
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Food and Nutritional SciencesUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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