Amita Jahangiri

PhD Student

Amita Jahangiri


PhD project: Stabilizing the natural colors bixin and norbixin from the Annatto plant by chemical and enzymatic formulation/modification

University: Aarhus University

Department: Department of Food Science 

Supervisor: Trine Kastrup Dalsgaard, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Food Science, AU

Co-supervisor: Academic Staff Marianne Danielsen, Department of Food Science, AU

Project term: 01082015 – 30072018

Master’s degree: MSc in Chemistry, Lund University, Sweden.



Annatto is a yellow/orange colorant that is widely used for the coloring of food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Annatto consisting of two major components, oil-soluble bixin and water-soluble norbixin. Apart from the coloring, bixins can be also associated with the prevention of some types of cancer due to singlet oxygen quenching and free radical scavenging. Bixin and norbixin are susceptible to oxidative degradation and losing the color by exposure to light and air and can influence the color stability of food products. Advanced methods and technologies are required to enhance light and heat stability of annatto pigments.

For more information:  

Aim of the project

The general aim of this project is changing the pigment properties by different formulation and molecular modifications such as enzymatic esterification or emulsification and encapsulation techniques to increase the stability and solubility of annatto pigments.


Research outline

Annatto pigments will be modified with various synthetic methods. Furthermore, the light and heat stability of the modified pigments will be tested on varied food matrix by advanced analytical instruments.


Partners of collaboration

  • Department of Food Science, Aarhus University (AU-FOOD
  • Chr. Hansen A/S (CH):
  • Thomson Lab, University of Campinas, Brazil


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ID: 90403771