is the molecule that gives carrots their orange color. It is part of a family
of chemicals called the carotenoids, which are found in many fruit and vegetables,
as well as some animal products such as egg yolks. Carotenoids were first isolated
in the early 19th century, and have been synthesized for use as food colorings
since the 1950s. Biologically, beta-carotene is most important as the precursor
of vitamin A. It also has antioxidant properties and may help in preventing cancer
and other diseases although much controversy continues in this area (see below)..
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