A method of increasing a fraction of free carotenoids in a source of
carotenoids in which at least some of the carotenoids are fatty acid
esterified carotenoids is disclosed. The method is effected by contacting
the source of carotenoids with an effective amount of an esterase under
conditions effective in deesterifying the fatty acid esterified
carotenoids, thereby increasing the fraction of free carotenoids in the
source of carotenoids.