Cis-trans isomerizations of β-carotene and lycopene: A theoretical study

Wen Hsin Guo, Cheng Yi Tu, Ching Han Hu

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57 Citations (Scopus)


The all-trans to mono-cis isomerizations of polyenes and two C 40H56 carotenes, β-carotene and lycopene, at the ground singlet (S0) and triplet (T1) states are studied by means of quantum chemistry computations. At the So state of polyenes containing n acetylene units (Pn), we find that the energy barrier of the central C=C rotation decreases with n. In contrast, however, at the T 1 state, the rotational barrier increases with n. For the C 40H56 carotenes, the rotational barriers of lycopene are lower than those of meir β-carotene counterparts. This difference renders the rotational rates of lycopene to be 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than those of β-carotene at room temperature. For both these carotenes, the barrier is lowest for the rotation toward the 13-cis isomer. The relative abundances are in the following order: all-trans > 9-cis > 13-cis > 15-cis. Although the 5-cis isomer of lycopene has the lowest energy among the cis isomers, its formation from the all-trans form is restricted, owing to a very large rotational barrier. The possible physiological implications of this study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12158-12167
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sep 25

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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