Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in most plants, algae, and certain bacteria. As all leaves and thus all leafy vegetables contain chlorophyll, it is one of the oldest and most widely consumed pigments in our diet. Since it has been in the human diet forever, it can be considered one of the most safe food components. Chlorophyll plays an important role in plants in the photosynthesis, the mechanism by which plants acquire energy. Purified Chlorophyll is used as a food colour with E-number E140. The more stable copper complexes of Chlorophyll are referred to as E141 and known under the name copper Chlorophyllin.


Chemically chlorophyll is a mixture of several highly complex molecules, which consist of a ring structure (the porphyrin structure) with a central magnesium ion, and a long hydrophobic side chain. Chlorophyll is produced through the same metabolic pathway as other pigments   such as heme, the red colour of blood (which has an iron ion in the ring structure). There are a few different forms that occur naturally, which differ in some small changes in the ring structure, as well as in different side chains.



Chlorophyll is mainly extracted from alfalfa (Medicago sativa), nettles (Urtica dioica) or grasses. The chlorophyll can be extracted from the plants by several solvents, but has to be carried out rapidly in dim light to prevent degradation of the pigment. The resulting extract is further purified. Holland Ingredients offers Chlorophyll E-140 i derived out of both sources.










Natural Chlorophyll is not very stable, but stability can be increased by de-esterifying the chlorophyll and adding copper ions. These copper-complexes have a good green colour and are more stable than natural chlorophyll. This product referred to as Copper Chlorophyllin E-141 is also available at Holland Ingredients.


Due to its safety, chlorophyll can be added unlimitedly to nearly all foods and even to feed (restrictions for feed should be considered per country of use). However, as the colour is rather unstable, the applications are limited. Air, light, heat and pH all negatively influence the stability. Chlorophyll-coloured products should be dry and not exposed to light, air or high temperatures. In many cases the products are packed in dark packaging with a modified atmosphere to prevent chlorophyll degradation.

For the copper complexes restrictions in use and dosage apply in different countries. To be sure if it can be used in your application and country kindly refer to your own legislation for more elaborate details.


For more elaborate information, samples or an offer kindly contact us.


(source: www.