Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Carrot; daucus carota

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The carrot (Daucus carota), also known as carrot, carrot, turnip, is a widespread vegetable plant from the umbellifer family (Apiaceae). In the EU, carrots are the second most important vegetable. The name carrot is derived from the Latin "carota". The turnip can have different shapes and colours. The colour depends on the variety, the growing conditions and the weather. The colour is due to carotenoids (e.g. beta-carotene, lycopene), anthocyanins and chlorophyll. Nutritionally important are especially the carotenoids, followed by vitamin C, potassium and iron.

General information
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Nutritional significance: The carrot is particularly important in the nutrition of infants and toddlers and in dietary cuisine. The colouring is due to carotenoids, anthocyanins and chlorophyll. Beta-carotene is used as a food colouring agent or is used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics (light protection agents in sunscreen preparations). Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and stabilizer and is contained in carrots up to 0.1%.

Cosmetics: Extracts from the different parts of the carrot (especially the essential oil from the root, but also from the whole plant) are used as fragrances and skin care ingredients in various cosmetics.

Allergological significance (see below carrot allergy):

  • The allergens identified are Dau c1 (16-18 kDa), a protein homologous to Bet v1 ( birch allergen), carrot profilin (12 kDa) and a Bet v6 allergen (35 kDa). Carrot allergens are heat labile.
  • Type I reaction: Relatively frequent occurrence of food allergies (about 10% of all food allergies); third most frequent allergen in the triggering of systemic reactions, also as a trigger for oral allergy syndrome. Occupational rhinorrhoea, allergic asthma and contact urticaria are known. Asthma symptoms can already occur when processing raw carrots.
  • Cross-reactions often occur with birch pollen as part of a pollen-associated food allergy and celery ( celery-carrot-mugwort spice syndrome). An isolated carrot allergy without a corresponding pollen deposition is extremely rare.

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Main components are pinene, carotene, daucol, limonene, bisabolone, elements, geraniol, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene.

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In cosmetic preparations different ingredients and extracts of carrots are used:

  • Daucus carota sativa juice (INCI)
  • Daucus carota sativa seed extract (INCI)
  • Daucus carota sativa seed oil (INCI)
  • Daucus carota sativa leaf extract (INCI)
  • Daucus carota sativa extract (INCI)
  • Daucus carota sativa root extract (INCI)
  • Daucus carota sativa root powder (INCI)

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  1. Ballmer-Weber et al (2007) Carrot allergy: double-blinded, placebo-controlled food challenge and identification of allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol: 301-307
  2. Fernándes-Rivas et al (2004) Anaphylaxis to raw carrot not linked to pollen allergy. Allergy 59: 1239-1240
  3. Morena-Ancillo et al (2006) Role of Dau c 1 in three different patterns of carrot-induced asthma. Allergol Immunopathol 34: 116-120