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Pre-processing of annatto seeds (Bixa orellana L.) with high lipid concentration

Abstract

Pigments of annatto (Bixa orellana L.) seeds are the most widely used natural colorant in Brazilian food. Its production has varied over the last twenty years, since it was pegged to the price of the colorant industry. Those variations resulted from the need to sell seeds after cropping to prevent pigment degradation risks. Pigment losses occur both due to chemical degradation (intrinsic characteristics of carotenoids, and annatto is part of this group), and friction among seeds resulting from humidity loss during storage. Therefore we needed to find a solution that allow producers to safely store and sell pigment seeds under favorable conditions. The objective of this study is to establish and optimize an extraction technology for annatto seed pigments, with different lipid concentrations using water as solvent. Preferably a technology that could be applied closer to annatto cropping areas and used by farmers or cooperative groups. The product of this research will be applied as raw material for the colorant industries replacing the trade of seeds that has been generating large transportation volumes and excessive residue (seeds without pigments). This project is part of a previous study, funded by FAPESP. Based on its results it is necessary to improve processing techniques for seeds with different lipid concentration. (AU)

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