Sorrel is important to the culture of the Virgin Islands for its use in making a healthy red holiday beverage. Fourteen sorrel cultivars obtained from the USDA Germplasm Repository and locally in the Caribbean have been evaluated at the University of the Virgin Islands. The calyx of sorrel varies in the intensity of redness between cultivars. The purpose of this research was to determine the concentration of the red anthocyanin pigment in the calyxes from fourteen sorrel cultivars and use paper chromatography to resolve the pigments. Sorrel calyxes were ground 1/1 (w/v) in either ethanol or water. Following centrifugation, the solute was read in a spectrophotometer at 535 nm. Ethanol was found to be better for extracting the anthocyanin pigment. Paper chromatography, utilizing polar and nonpolar solvents, was used to separate the red anthocyanin pigmented compounds. Ethanol was the most efficient solvent for both extracting the red anthocyanin pigment and resolving the compound with paper chromatography. This research was funded through the VI Dept. of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant and USDA-NIFA- Resident Instruction in Insular Areas (Grant #2008-3481620016).


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