Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can help counter the effects of cell-damaging free radicals and is also believed to boost the immune system. It occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables and is widely used by the food and beverage industry as a source of vitamin A and as a pigment.
Derived from a naturally occurring fungus called blakeslea trispora and produced at Vitatene's facility in Leon, Spain, Vitatene's Betanat is available in three grades: 10 percent CWD (cold-water-dispersible), 20 percent CWD, and 30 percent oil.
Its introduction in other countries in October 2004, initially as an oil, followed more than four years of R&D at Antibioticos' facility in Leon, Spain.
"The goal was to offer natural beta-carotene to the world market at competitive prices with synthetic materials," B&D VP of sales Michael Sodaro told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
"This enables our customers to replace their synthetic beta-carotene with our natural without a price increase."
Vitatene's breakthrough brings the company into competition with Dutch company DSM, one of the world's leading beta-carotene producers, which launched its CaroPure tablet-grade beadlets containing 7.5 per cent beta-carotene in 2002.
In December 2004 BASF announced the launch of a synthetic product called Lucarotin 10 CWD/O which uses modified food starch to stabilize the carotenoid in place of the usual, potentially allergenic, fish gelatin and is aimed at meeting increasing demand for the carotenoid from the beverage industry.
Cognis Nutrition & Health also offers a natural product called Betatene. Derived from the marine alga Dunaliella salina, this product combines beta-carotene with alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin.