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Anders Hauer Møller

Post doc, Postdoc.

Anders Hauer Møller


PhD project: Stability of the natural colors bixin and norbixin and screening for bioactive compounds from the annatto plant
University: Aarhus University
Department: Department of Food Science
Supervisor: Trine Kastrup Dalsgaard, Associate professor
Co-supervisor: Marianne Hammershøj, Associate professor
Project term: August 1st 2015 to October 2nd 2018
Master’s degree: MSc in Chemistry and Biotechnology, Aarhus University



The marked for natural colors is growing with a yearly rate of 10% mainly driven by reports of adverse effects from synthetic colors in children. Annatto, a colorant extracted from the seed of the annatto plant (Bixa orellana), is widely used as an orange/yellow colorant in foods (E160b), pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The color of the annatto dye comes from two major components, the carotenoids: bixin and norbixin. Although stable in comparison with other carotenoids the annatto dye is susceptible to oxidative changes and degradation when exposed to light and air reducing the shelf life of food products colored with annatto. It has been shown that the extract from the annatto seeds contain some antioxidant activity. It is possible that these antioxidants could functions as natural stabilizers of bixin/norbixin in the seeds and therefore could be used as additives to the annatto formulations to increase the shelf life of colored products.

For more information:





The aim of the project is to increase the stability of the annatto color towards heat and light to increase the shelf life of annatto colored foods and to screen the annatto seeds for valuable compounds.


Research outline:

The degradation of bixin and norbixin in both model systems and in complex food matrixes will be studied using HPLC and mass spectrometry methods. New formulations of bixin and chemically modified bixin species will also be tested using the analytical methods. It will also be part of the project to produce encapsulated bixin and test this for improved stability. Furthermore, the annatto seeds will be screened for bioactive compounds such as antioxidants.


Partners of collaboration:

Chr. Hansen A/S Thomson Lab, University of Campinas, Brazil

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