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IUPAC name
Other names
5,6:5′,6′-Diepoxy-5,5′,6,6′-tetrahydro-β,β-carotene-3,3′-diol, Zeaxanthin diepoxide, all-trans-Violaxanthin, E161e
3D model (JSmol)
E number E161e (colours)
Molar mass 600.85 g/mol
Appearance Orange crystals
Melting point 200 °C (392 °F; 473 K)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references
The xanthophyll cycle

Violaxanthin is a natural xanthophyll pigment with an orange color found in a variety of plants including pansies. It is biosynthesized from zeaxanthin by epoxidation.[1] As a food additive it is used under the E number E161e as a food coloring; it is not approved for use in the EU[2] or USA however is approved in Australia and New Zealand[3] (where it is listed under its INS number 161e).


  1. ^ a b Merck Index, 11th Edition, 9902.
  2. ^ UK Food Standards Agency: "Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers". Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  3. ^ Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code"Standard 1.2.4 - Labelling of ingredients". Retrieved 2011-10-27.