Book Series

The book series Carotenoids, volumes 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Handbook, provides an introduction to the fundamental chemistry of these important compounds, detailed accounts of the basic methods used in carotenoid research and critical discussions of the biochemistry, functions and applications of carotenoids. More than twenty years on from the Isler monograph of the same name, this new book series was designed to pass on a wealth of practical experience that has accumulated in succeeding years.

Volumes 1A (Isolation and Analysis), 1B (Spectroscopy), 2 (Synthesis) and 3 (Biosynthesis and Metabolism) of the book series Carotenoids are sold out. There is still a demand for these books, which have become standard literature for all researchers in the field. In order to fulfil this demand, the editors have been given the permission by the publisher, Birkhäuser Verlag, to reprint these volumes as soft cover books and also to produce them as CD-ROMs (PDF file, without full-text search). These are now available for distribution by CaroteNature GmbH.
It is emphasized that the Carotenoids Handbook and volumes 4 (Natural Functions) and 5 (Nutrition and Health) will still be distributed by Springer Verlag AG.

Vol. 1A: Isolation and Analysis
368 pages, ISBN 3-7643-2908-4
 Vol. 1B: Spectroscopy
 360 pages, ISBN 3-7643-2909-2
The first volume of the Carotenoids series consists of two parts. Volume 1A covers the general methods of isolation and analysis, with chapters on structure and nomenclature, isolation and analysis, chemical derivatization and chromatography (column, thin-layer, HPLC, SFC), and includes a collection of worked examples of procedures for the isolation and analysis of carotenoids from a variety of important natural sources. Volume 1B describes the application of spectroscopic techniques for identification and structure elucidation, with chapters on UV/visible, infrared, Raman and NMR spectroscopy, circular dichroism, mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography and a combined approach to the identification and structure elucidation of carotenoids.
These two books, which are intended to be used together, provide the essential guidance for all work with carotenoids, and are considered the foundation for the rest of the series.
 Vol. 2: Synthesis
 380 pages, ISBN 3-7643-5297-3
Carotenoids, volume 2 is devoted to the chemical synthesis of carotenoids. The essential appreciation of the perspectives, principles and strategies of carotenoid synthesis is provided in the first chapter. Preparation of polyene building blocks and carotenoid end groups, and the coupling reactions commonly used for carbon-carbon double bond formation, as well as the application of these methods and building blocks for the synthesis of carotenoids, are then described in detail. The technical syntheses used for the industrial production of carotenoids, and methods for the preparation of isotopically labelled compounds, in particular for biological and medical applications, are also covered.
 Vol. 3: Biosynthesis and Metabolism
 450 pages, ISBN 3-7643-5829-7
Carotenoids, volume 3 provides a comprehensive account of how carotenoid molecules are formed in nature and utilized and modified by living organisms. Two major chapters give overviews of carotenoid biosynthesis in bacteria, fungi, algae and higher plants and of the developments in molecular genetics. Animals cannot biosynthesize carotenoids de novo. The formation of vitamin A and the absorption, transport and deposition of dietary carotenoids in tissues in mammals are described, followed by a detailed account of the diverse metabolic reactions by which dietary carotenoids undergo structural changes in birds, fish and invertebrate animals. The relevance of carotenoids for use in chemosystematics and as marker to trace food chains is also discussed.
 Vol. 4: Natural Functions
 400 pages, ISBN 3-7643-7498-3
Carotenoids, volume 4 and volume 5, deal with the functions of carotenoids in all kinds of living organisms and the actions of carotenoids in human nutrition and health. The material presented in the earlier volumes is all relevant to studies of biological functions and actions. In particular, biological studies must be supported by a rigorous analytical base. The various analytical procedures described in volumes 1A and 1B, supplemented by the data for individual compounds given in the Carotenoids Handbook, must be understood and applied correctly, whether they are being used for quantitative analysis, identification or in complex studies of carotenoids in situ.
In the first part of volume 4, the structural features that are most important for determining the properties and hence the biological roles of carotenoids are emphasized. The overall molecular geometry (size, three-dimensional shape, presence of functional groups) is vital to ensure that the carotenoid fits into cellular, sub-cellular and molecular structures in the correct location and orientation to allow it to function efficiently. Specific interactions with other molecules, e.g. to form aggregates or complexes with proteins, strongly influence the properties of a carotenoid in vivo and are thus also crucial to functioning. The extended delocalized π-electron system that characterizes the central part of the structure gives the carotenoids their peculiar photochemical properties and reactivity towards oxidizing agents and free radicals.
This treatment provides a foundation for the description of the main functions of carotenoids and their breakdown products in the second part of volume 4 and in volume 5. Topics covered in volume 4 include various aspects of the roles of carotenoids in color and coloration, photosynthesis and other photo functions, and protection. The formation and roles of carotenoid metabolites and breakdown products as perfume/aroma compounds and as vitamin A are also outlined; the latter is dealt with in more detail in volume 5, which provides a comprehensive discussion of carotenoids in human health and nutrition.
Biologists now are not only discovering new phenomena but are striving to elucidate details of the underlying mechanisms that explain their observations. Chemistry is moving in new directions relevant to studies in vivo and new techniques are being developed to investigate structural details and interactions and to detect and interpret changes on an ever shorter timescale. Volumes 4 and 5 thus point the way to the future of carotenoid research by highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to study these complex and sophisticated systems.
 Vol. 5: Nutrition and Health
 350 pages, ISBN 978-3-7643-7500-3
The final volume, volume 5, deals with the topic that is of greatest general interest and public concern, carotenoids in human health and nutrition. This is the era of ’functional foods’, and identifying roles of chemical components of foods as important micronutrients. Carotenoids feature high on the list of these. Volume 5 follows the carotenoid story from food to biological actions. The treatment of the fundamental properties of carotenoids, presented in the companion volume, volume 4, provides a foundation. The first part of volume 5 deals with nutrition. Methods for HPLC analysis of carotenoids in food, blood and tissues presented in volume 5 build on descriptions in volumes 1A and 1B. Main sources of nutritionally important carotenoids in food and as supplements are summarized. Production by microbial biotechnology and prospects for improvement of carotenoid content and composition in plants by genetic manipulation are assessed. Factors that determine the bioavailability of carotenoids – food structure, digestion, absorption, transport, deposition and localization in tissues – are discussed as well as conversion into vitamin A. This leads to a discussion of the diverse roles that carotenoids may play in human health. The importance of dietary carotenoids as provitamin A in fighting vitamin A deficiency is emphasized. The debate about whether antioxidant activity in vivo may play any part in the reported biological actions of carotenoids is considered. The associations between a carotenoid-rich diet and reduced risk of the serious degenerative diseases cancer and coronary heart disease are considered and evaluated, and roles of carotenoids in maintaining eye health, protecting skin against photoaging, and stimulating the immune response system are discussed. The question of whether reported actions attributed to carotenoids may actually be mediated by vitamin A or other metabolites is addressed. Experimental strategies are discussed, including epidemiological methods and intervention trials, and studies of signaling and other mechanisms in cell in cultures. Carotenoids, volume 5 is a coordinated, integrated treatment providing up-to-date and critical research surveys by leading authorities in the field, and incorporating some background material to help make the chapters accessible to carotenoid researchers who are not specialists on the particular topic.
 672 pages, ISBN 3-7643-6180-8
With the number of natural carotenoid structures reported rising above 700, there is a clear need for a single reference work containing data on all these compounds. A previous work, the Key to Carotenoids (2nd edition, 1987, Birkhäuser Publishing), listed complete literature references to 563 carotenoids obtained from natural sources up to 1982; this list was extended in appendix to Carotenoids, vol. 1A. The Handbook expands this coverage to include all natural carotenoids and common isolation artefacts for which structures have been assigned up to the end of 2001. For each compound, it provides selected key references and critically assessed information about natural occurrence and isolation, and spectroscopic data for identification.


Though the Handbook serves as a self-contained comprehensive reference book on the known carotenoids, it is also designed to be used in conjunction with the Carotenoids series. The numbering of carotenoids in the Handbook is the same as that used throughout the Carotenoids volumes. The factual information and practical guidance given in this well received book series ideally complements the information given in the Handbook. It is highly advisable to be familiar with the general methods and precautions for handling carotenoids, and with the isolation and purification strategies and methods as described and evaluated in vol. 1A, and the principles, application and interpretation of the spectroscopic techniques as described in vol. 1B, to ensure that the identifications and analyses on which carotenoid work is based are accurate and reliable.

The Handbook is an important source of information for both specialists and non-specialists. It is of great value not only to chemists and biochemists, but to all researchers whose work and interests bring them into the diverse fields of carotenoids, especially those from areas of biology, food science, nutrition, medicine, horticulture, agriculture, aquaculture, ecology and biotechnology.

Carotenoids: A Colourful History
 236 pages, no ISBN
This book describes the history of the carotenoid field over 200 years, reaching a climax in the ‘Golden Age’ of research by Nobel laureates Willstätter, Karrer and Kuhn as the chemistry of these natural pigments unfolded. It describes also how the field diversified into areas of biochemistry and biology, including photosynthesis, but especially as human health and nutrition have become a major focal point. Biographical information and anecdotes about the ‘Giants’ of carotenoid research are presented and contributions of different regions and countries assessed. The history of commercial production and applications, leading to the multimillion-dollar business of today, is summarised. The history of the International Carotenoid Symposia since they began 50 years ago and of other important meetings is discussed, as is the legacy of major publications on carotenoids for more than 100 years. Finally, the authors give their personal recollections of their long associations with carotenoids and with leading personalities in the field.

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