The effects of ozone and oxygen on the degradation of carotenoids in an aqueous model system were studied. All-trans beta-carotene, 9-cis beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene were adsorbed onto a C(18) solid phase and exposed to a continuous flow of water saturated with oxygen or ozone at 30 degrees C. Carotenoids were analyzed using HPLC with a C(30) column and a photodiode array detector. Approximately 90% of all-trans beta-carotene, 9-cis beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin were lost after exposure to ozone for 7 h. A similar loss of lycopene occurred in only 1 h. When exposed to oxygen, all carotenoids, except beta-cryptoxanthin, degraded at lower rates. The degradation of all the carotenoids followed zero-order reaction kinetics with the following relative rates: lycopene > beta-cryptoxanthin > all-trans beta-carotene > 9-cis beta-carotene. The major degradation products of beta-carotene were tentatively identified on the basis of their elution on the HPLC column, UV-Vis spectra, and electrospray LC-MS. Predominant isomers of beta-carotene were 13-cis, 9-cis, and a di-cis isomer. Products resulting from cleavage of the molecule were beta-apo-13-carotenone and beta-apo-14'-carotenal, whereas epoxidation yielded beta-carotene 5,8-epoxide and beta-carotene 5, 8-endoperoxide.
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