When enjoying delicious crabs, do you ever wonder how they change from “cyan-helmeted soldiers” to “red-armored generals”?
In fact, the drastic color change during cooking has to do with a substance called astaxanthin inside the shells of the crabs, which is wrapped by a protein while the crustaceans are alive, giving off a hyacinth or livid color. The protein relaxes its bonds with astaxanthin when the crabs are cooked at high temperatures, letting the pigment’s true bright red color shine through.
Astaxanthin is the main pigment in fish, shrimps, and crabs. Bright colors on aquatic products tend to stimulate consumers’ appetites and meet their high expectations of food quality. River crabs cannot synthesize astaxanthin on their own, so exogenous astaxanthin plays a very important role their pigmentation. The brightness of the colors of river crabs are closely related to the astaxanthin content. Full grown hen crabs fed with astaxanthin of different concentration gradients show a significant increase in redness in their roe and shells.
In addition to crustaceans such as shrimps and crabs, astaxanthin can also be found in fish such as salmon and birds’ feathers. With a remarkable pigmentation effect, it deposits in the body surface, muscles, and some other parts of aquatic animals, giving them a tellingly attractive hue.
However, the function of astaxanthin is more than just turning crabs red. Its molecular structure contains conjugated double bonds that scavenge the oxygen radicals that harm the body – it is the superb antioxidant effect that has made it so famous. Aquatic animals that take in astaxanthin not only display brilliant colors, but also have a boosted antioxidant capacity. Astaxanthin reduces oxidative damage, improves the health of aquatic animals, and enhances the nutritional value of aquatic products. When these astaxanthin-rich products are put on the table, our bodies ingest the natural antioxidant in them as well.
At present, astaxanthin has been widely used in aquaculture, benefiting both the cultivation of aquatic organisms and those of us who consume aquatic products.
ESSEENTION PINK®, the astaxanthin product developed and produced by NHU has been widely recognised by the industry and successfully applied to aquatic animals. It promotes the rapid development of the global salmon farming industry and brings quality aquatic products such as salmon to the tables of ordinary families.
Going forward with the mission of Exploring Chemicals, Improving Life, NHU will carry out R&D with an eye on market demand, and leverages the power of biochemical technology to create a better life.
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Contact Person: Wang Yurong
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