Achiote (or annatto) is a red to yellow natural pigment widely used in the cosmetics and food industry. It is extracted from a shrub’s seeds, also known as achiote (Bixia Orellana), native to tropical areas of America.
Bixin and norbixin are the basic components of achiote, as well as natural colorings obtained from Annatto. Achiote seeds host a pigment known as Bixin, which is an orange-yellow carotenoid.
After its extraction, bixin is used to provide color to oil-based products, such as cheese, processed cheese, snacks, oils, fats, butter and margarine. Norbixin products are obtained from Bixin; these are water-soluble products used in wraps for sausages, dairy products, snacks, confectionery and cakes.
This natural coloring provides colors ranging from light yellow to peaches’ reddish orange, depending on the amount used. As a dye, Annatto is also used to provide color to skin or vegetable surfaces. For example, Amazon’s indigenous people apply it to their skin as an insect repellent.
There are several presentations depending on its application, for example:
- Powder: Its application is recommended in baked products, pastries, and processed cereals. Also, in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
- Liquid: Applied in ice creams, sauces, seasonings, fruit juices, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, textile dyes, art paint, among others.
- Vegetable Oil: Its application is recommended in margarine, mayonnaise, cosmetic creams, tanning lotions, lipsticks, pharmaceuticals, art paints.
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