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Food Additives > Natural Food Colors > Annatto Extract

Blended Food Colors

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Food Colors

Annatto Extract

Regulatory Info 21 CFR Section 73.30, 73.1030 and 73.2030
Color Orange Yellow
Source Seed of Bixa Orellana
Color Pigments Carotenoids Bixin and Norbixin
Solubility Water- and oil-soluble
Stability Fades in strong or direct light
Stable in Alkaline mediums
Degrades in acids
Degrades by oxidation
Resistant to microbial attack
Other Properties Bixin is oil soluble
Alkaline Norbixin is water soluble
Application Dairy products, Bakery and Snack foods

Annatto has been used since the ancient times. The color represented fire, sun and blood in early American Indian civilizations. The color was used for food, dying clothes, and coloring the body during ceremonies. It is said to have medicinal properties.

Annatto is yellow, natural food colorant obtained from the seeds of the Bixa Orella tree. The pigments that produce this yellow to orange color range are the carotenoids, bixin and norbixin. The concentration of the color is expressed as a percentage of these compounds and the content varies with the extraction method. pH, emulsifiers and overall solubility affect the hue. Oil soluble Annattos have a brighter hue.

Fruits are dried and seeds extracted from them are crushed. The seeds have a coating of an oily paste that contains bixin. Bixin is a yellow orange carotenoid. It is extracted using aqueous alkaline solution and vegetable oil solvent.

Vegetable oil solvent gives oil soluble bixin, Alkaline solution gives water soluble norbixin and Propyline Glycol yields a combination.

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