A natural orange dye obtained from the lipstick plant which is a small tree, Bixa orellana, native to Central and South America. The seeds from the plant are contained in a pod surrounded with a bright red pulp. Annatto is extracted from the pulp with boiling water then precipitated with a dilute acid (vinegar or lemon juice). It floats to the top of the solution and is skimmed off and shaped into cakes and wrapped in banana leaves. Annatto contains several tannins and flavones, primarily bixin and nor-bixin. A bright orange lake is prepared by precipitating annatto on alumina trihydrate. Annatto also colors leather, wool, silk, and cotton evenly. However, it is not very lightfast or washfast. Annatto was used in indigenous cultures as a textile and skin dye. From the 16th century, annatto was occasionally used in Europe for color in varnishes, oils, waxes, and stains. Currently, annatto is used to color butter, cheese, and cosmetics.
Synonyms and Related Terms
Bixa orellana; Natural Orange 4; CI 75120; achiote (Esp.); bija orellana (Esp.); Annatto (Deut.); annatto (It., Ned.); echter Orlean (Deut.); roucou (Fr.); orlean (Deut., Ned.); achiote (Esp.); terra orellana (Esp.); terra oriana (It.); annotto; anotta; anatto; orange lake; annotta; arnotta; arnoto; achiotl; butter color; onoto; urian; rocoa; roccu; bixin; kesae; lathan; morning red; aurora; racourt; otter; urucu;
Bixin is soluble in hot water, ethanol, chloroform, oil, alkali solutions.
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