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A natural orange-yellow carotenoid colorant. Carotene occurs naturally in three isomeric forms, the most common being beta-carotene. Carotene is the primary colorant found in carrots, Palm oil, and egg yolks.

Synonyms and Related Terms

beta-carotene; Natural Yellow 26; CI 75130; Carotine (Deut.); caroteno (Esp.); carotène (Fr.); carotene (It.)caroteen (Ned.); karoten (Pol.); caroteno (Port.); provitamin A; carotin; b-carotene

Chemical structure


Absorption spectrum

Beta-carotene abs.jpg


  • Sensitive to light and air.
  • Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in chloroform, carbon disulfide, ether, benzene, fats, oils.

Insoluble in water. Slightly soluble in ethanol.

Composition C40H56
CAS 7235-40-7
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 536.88

Resources and Citations

  • Helmut Schweppe, Schweppe color collection index and information book
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 1901
  • Colour Index International online at