Method development and analysis of retail foods for annatto food colouring material

M. J. Scotter, L. Castle, C. A. Honeybone, C. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analytical methods for the determination of the permitted food colouring annatto (E160b) have been developed or refined to encompass the wide range of food commodity types permitted to contain it. Specific solvent extraction regimens have been used depending upon the food commodity analysed and HPLC analysis techniques coupled with spectral confirmation have been used for the determination of the major colouring components. Qualitative and quantitative data on the annatto content of 165 composite and two single retail food samples covering a wide range of foods at levels above the limit of quantification (0.1 mg kg-1) is reported. Quantitative results are given for the major colour principals 9′-cis-bixin, 9′-cis-norbixin and trans-bixin. Semi-quantitative results are given for the minor bixin and norbixin isomers monocis- (not 9′-), di-cis- and trans-norbixin, for which authentic reference standards were not available. Repeat analyses (n = 4-9) of 12 different types of food commodity (covering the permitted range) spiked with annatto at levels between 1.7 and 27.7 mg kg-1 gave mean recoveries between 61 and 96%. The corresponding relative SDs (RSD) were between 2.1 and 7.9%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Additives
  • Analysis
  • Bixin
  • Chromatography
  • Food
  • HPLC
  • Norbixin
  • Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • General Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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