Annatto pigment production in root cultures of Achiote (Bixa orellana L.)
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- Mahendranath, G., Venugopalan, A., Parimalan, R. et al. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult (2011) 106: 517. doi:10.1007/s11240-011-9931-9
Bixa orellana L. is a tree native to South America known for its reddish orange pigment ‘annatto’ produced only on the aril portion of its seeds. It is the most preferred natural food colorant next to saffron, having wide applications in the dairy industry and also as a cosmeceutical. Normal root cultures of B. orellana were established under in vitro conditions on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium containing α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) at 0.05–0.2 mg l−1. The annatto pigment from in vitro-raised normal roots was extracted with chloroform, and later the ethanol-dissolved extract was analyzed both qualitatively by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and spectrophotometrically quantified followed by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) confirmation. The maximum amount of annatto pigment (346 ± 3.8 mg/100 g dry wt.) and maximum root biomass (152 ± 2.5 mg dry wt.) were recorded after 45 and 60 days of growth, respectively, on MS medium containing 0.1 mg l−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). Producing annatto pigment from normal root cultures under in vitro conditions is a novel approach when compared to the natural annatto pigment that is produced only on the aril portion of seeds. This allows the production of fresh pigment throughout the year.