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Annatto: a sustainable bio-factory for natural colors and heath promoting components for foods

Grant number: 14/50422-1
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2014 - November 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry
Convênio/Acordo: Innovation Fund Denmark
Principal Investigator:Marcos Nogueira Eberlin
Grantee:Marcos Nogueira Eberlin
Principal researcher abroad: Bjarne Jørnsgård
Institution abroad: Aarhus University, Denmark
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated grant(s):16/22577-6 - Multi-user equipment approved in grant 2014/50422-1, Agilent Q-TOF 6550 IFunnel, AP.EMU


The market for natural colors is approx. 700M€ with growth rates in excess of 10% annually. A main market driver is reports on adverse effects of synthetic colors in children. Currently, 30% of food and beverage applications use natural colors. The major challenge for converting the remainder of the market away from synthetic colors is the additional cost and lower stability of naturally occurring pigments. Carotenoids are the preferred pigment group used for yellow and orange shades, representing 60% of the market volume. The annatto crop (Bixa orellana L.), that is endogenous to South America, can contain above 5% carotenoids in the seeds. This is 100-1000 times the concentration normally found in orange carrots, making Bixa orellana a promising production system for such pigments. The level of the two main carotenoids bixin and norbixin can vary significantly, typically from 1% to 5%, in different cultivated variants of the plant. By implementing systematic screening and optimized breeding the project's first objective is to increase bixin and norbixin levels to 5-10%. A second objective is utilize mass spectrometry technique to find and characterize other valuable components, i.e. natural antioxidants. The third objective of the project is to increase the stability and applications of bixin and norbixin in foods. Both pigments are light and heat sensitive, and insoluble in water. Different formulation techniques will be utilized to enhance stability and functionality of these pigments and antioxidants in food and beverage applications. By optimizing both at primary production stages as well as increasing stability or applicability to a wider range of foods, this project can transform Bixa orellana seeds to a sustainable bio-factory of natural colors for' the food and beverage industries. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
CAMPOS OLIVEIRA, LUAN FELIPE; TEGA, DAVID ULISSES; EBERLIN, MARCOS NOGUEIRA; SUSSULINI, ALESSANDRA. Liquid chromatography coupled to Venturi easy ambient sonic spray ionization mass spectrometry. Talanta, v. 238, n. 1, . (14/50422-1)

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