Bixin and Norbixin
Annatto pigment is obtained from the seeds of Bixa orellana, a bush grown in Central and South America. Annatto has been used as a food colouring for centuries and contains the source for both Bixin and Norbixin pigments. Bixin is extracted from the seed coating and is oil soluble. It is suitable for fat and oil based applications such as margarine and other fat emulsions, as well as extruded savoury snacks. The extraction of annatto using alkaline hydrolysis results in a second water soluble pigment, Norbixin, which is suitable for applications such as fine bakery, breakfast cereals, cheese, confectionery and salad dressings.