Annatto extract is an orange-red condiment extracted from seeds of achiote tree. The seeds originate from Brazil and Mexico and thrive in the tropical climate. Besides the vibrant colours it imparts, annatto extract has a nutty, peppery taste. Hence, it is popular in food industry as it can be incorporated into food in various ways. Its naturally occurring colour is also used in the textile industry as dye. The main component of annatto extract is bixin and norbixin, which contributes to the vibrant orange-red colour it imparts.
Bixa Orellana seeds are obtained and dissolved in solvent to release the annatto extract in the seeds. Filtration is then carried out to remove the insoluble materials in the extract. After which, the filtrate undergoes processing to remove wax and fats.Subsequent processing involves removal of fats and waxes, solvent removal, crystallization and drying.
Annatto Extract is commonly used in food products as food colouring to improve the appearance of food. It is also used as spice as it imparts a nutty, peppery taste.
In the textile industry, annatto extract is used in the making of fabric dye.