- Annatto, a colouring matter of vegetable origin, is derived
from the pericarp of seed of Bixa orellana L. Annatto plant
is an evergreen shrub / small tree, 2 - 5 m height native
no tropical America, is now grown in most of the tropical
- The fruits are burr-like pod that may contain 10 - 20 seeds.
The seeds are coated with a thin pulpy, bright orange resinous
coating or mark, the colouring matter.
- It is mostly grown in Bolivia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, The Dominican
Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru and
Durinam. The crop is also produced on lesser scale in Africa,
e.g., Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and in the pacific e.g., Phillippines
- Annatto is grown in Indian in forests regions viz. Visakhapatnam,
Srikakulam, Thiruvananthpuram, Malabar and Coromandal coasts
and in certain districts of west Bengal, Maharashtra, Assam,
Karnataka, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh.
- Annatto seeds have a bright prospects of marketing in India
and abroad. Within India, the markets in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh,
Mahdya Pradesh are worth mentioning. According to rough estimates,
the quantum of seed handled annually in the market of these
States comes to about 180 - 250 tonnes.Out of these major
quantity is exported.
- The main commercial producers and suppliers of Annatto seeds
to the International Market have been Peru, The Dominican
Republic, Brazil, Jamaica, Ecuador and India.
Components of Annato
- The major components of Annatto is the apo-carotenoid
9-cis-bixin, the methyl ester of the dicarboxylic acid 9'-cis-norbixin
(C15H30O4) and is orange in colour.
- The total pigment content of Annatto seeds varies from 0.73
- 1.5% comprising of various carotenoids. Annatto colour is
prepared by leaching the pericarp of the Annatto seeds with
an extract prepared from one or more food grade materials
like various organic solvents, edible vegetable oils, and
fats, and alkaline aquous alkaline solutions.
- The selection of an extract is done depending upon the intended
Uses of annato
- Annatto colour is mainly used as a food colour. Its chief
application is colouring butter and cheese.
- It is also used for coloruing the dry mixes, bakery products
and the like. CFTRI, Mysore has developed a process for production
of Annatto dyes and is released to entrepreneurs on payment.
Other colours obtained from the Natural Colourants :
- There are two classes of carotenoids, the hydrocarbons
or carotenes (B - carotene, lycopene) and the oxygenated or
xanthophylls (capanthene from capsicum). Generally, the carotenoid
pigments are soluble in oil.
- There are two types of flavonoids, the anthocyanins and
the anthoxanthins. Anthocyanins are water soluble and, being
highly reactive are readily oxidised or reduced, the glycoside
linkages undergoing hydrolysis.
- These pigments are responsible for many of the wide range
of red, blue and purple hues of ruits and vegetables as well
as flowers. The most common forms of anthocyanidin are pelargonidanin,
cyanidin, delphinidin, peoniodin, malvidin and petunidin.
- There are many anthoxanthins (flavones). Members of this class
flavonoids are colourless in acid but pale yello in an alkaline
medium. Possibly the most common anthoxanthin is quercetin,
which has been found to occur with myricetin.
- There are two types of water soluble betalaines. These
are the strong coloured, purple-red betacyanins and the yellow
betaxanthins or vulgaxanthins.
- Their natural food product source is the beetroot and the
most studied variety is the red beet.
- The yellow colouring matter, curcumene, is obtained from
the roots of the dried, ground rhizomes of the turmeric plants.
- The pigment is not soluble in water and is often used in colloidal
Colours from Different Flowers
- Many flowers are heavily pigmented and may be suitable
sources of food colours. The possible sources are marigold,
poppy and sunflower seed husks. Red and yello carthamin pigments
can be extracted and manufactured rom safflower petals.
- CFTRI, Mysore has also developed a process for manufacture
of natural food colours from beetroot, safflower petals, kokum,
grapes (blue) for commercial exploitation.