This paper summarizes the application of natural dyes in fabric and analyzes the property of the dye in the material. Our cloth is producing pathogenic odour, bacteria, fungi and moulds. They include a variety of microorganisms like bacteria, algae, fungi and virus. Microbes require certain conditions to grow including dirt, perspiration, warm environment moisture and a receipting surface like skin or fabrics. Textiles are carriers of microorganisms such as pathogenic bacteria, odour generating bacterial, mould and fungi Annatto is a natural carotenoid obtained from Bixa orellana shrub. In Recent Years, the seeds are gaining economical importance as a highly desirable colorant. The ripe fruits of annatto on drying yield annatto seed which serves as the raw material for the production of annatto colour. The coloring matter is collected from the outer part of the seed. Annatto dye is non toxic and is mainly used for coloring edible products. It is used for only the purpose of coloring edible items like butter, ghee, chocolates. Annatto is also used as an ingredients in medicine to cure fevers, dysentery and kidney diseases. Now, it is mostly used to colour the medicine like tablets and capsule. And it is used to produce ointments for curing wounds. In India, it used as an insect repellant.


Nowadays the environment aspects of effluent treatment are too complicated problems in processing industries. So due to overcome this problem, now a days eco-friendly process is required. If we used the natural coloring matters with eco friendly process, there is no need of effluent treatment. Natural dyes are eco-friendly to the environment. All natural dyes are not having good fixation to material. So some dyes require mordant for fixation. In this project, I chosen annatto for a colouring matter and will also analyze the antimicrobial property.

Plant Profile:



English name

Arnotta or Annatto plant

Indian name

        Sinduri (Sanskrit)

        Sinduriya, Latkan (Hindi)

        Rangmale (Kannada)

        Uragumanjal (Tamil)


Bixa orellana

It is a natural dye obtained from annatto tree. Annatto possess good substantive towards cotton material and give orange colour. If we use mordant means there is a chance of getting colour from light orange to orange red. It gives pleasant odor to textile material. Natural herbal products can be used for antimicrobial composition to be the effective candidates in bringing out herbal textiles. The plants and plant products are traditionally used for healing of wounds, burn-injuries and antimicrobial activity against skin infections. Several medicinal plants are used for years in treating many diseases in daily life. Plants are reliable source of potentially important bioactive natural products. The growing interest in herbs and economically useful plant is part of the movement towards green economical life style.

Extraction of Annatto:

Annatto extracts can be found in many forms. It may be a power, paste, oil or as a chunk. It can also be used in food for culinary enhancements and flavoring. The procedure to make any of them is a little time taking as well as tedious. If annatto seeds are being used as it is, it is not really tough. The seeds have a coating of an oily paste that coating bixin. Bixin is a yellow orange carotenoid. It is extracted using aqueous alkaline solution and vegetable oil solvent.

Vegetable oil solvent gives oil soluble bixin; alkaline solution gives water soluble norbixin and propylene glycol yields a combination. For powder form, annatto seeds need to be dried and cursed to extract the powder. Deriving the paste form needs addition of water, vinegar and other herbs too at times. Annatto oil is available in flavored as well as unflavored form. It needs putting a little bit of edible oil in annatto seeds. It is basically reddish orange colored oil. Annatto oil is quite popular primarily in South America and it is used for cooking in a number of cuisines.

Uses of Annato

  • Mainly Latin American cuisines traditionally use annatto in recipes of Spanish origin that originally call for saffron; for example, in Arroz con Polo, to give the rice a yellow color.
  • In Venezuela, annatto (called locally onoto) is used in the preparation of hallacas, perico, and other traditionally dishes.
  • In Brazil, both annatto (the product) and the tree are called urucum and the product itself may also be called colorau. In the Caribbean islands, both fruit and tree are popularly called achiote or bija instead of Bixa.
  • Annatto has been linked with many cases of food- related allergies, and is the only natural food coloring. Because it is a natural colorant, companies using annatto may label their products, all natural colors on the principal display panel (PDP).
  • ITS Well known that synthetic food colour, expesaly some azo dyes, can provoke hypersensitivity reaction such as urticaria, angioneurotic oedema, and asthma (michaelsson and juhlin, 1973, granholt and thune, 1975).
  • Natural food colours are scarcely investigated with respect to potential allergic properties. Annotto extract, a commonly used food colour in edible fats e.g. butter, has been tested in patients. Among 61 consecutive patients suffering from chronic urticaria and/or angioneurotic oedema 56 patients were orally provoked by annatto extract during elimination diet.
  • Calling was preformed with a dose equivalent to the amount used in 25gm of butter.26% of patients reacted to this colour 4hour after intake. Similar challenges with synthetic dyes showed the following result.

As a Food Coloring

  • The water soluble part is called norbixin, the fat soluble part of the crude extract is called bixin and both share the same E number as annatto. Annatto seed contains 4.5-5.5% pigments, which consists of 70 80% bixin.
  • In the United States, annatto extract is listed as a color additive exempt from certification and is informally considered to be natural color. The yellowish orange color. The yellowish orange color is produced by the chemical compounds bixin and norbixin which are classified as carotenoids. They do not have the correct chemical structures to be vitamin A precursors unlike beta-carotene which is another well-known carotenoid.
  • A higher level of bixin gives it a more reddish shade; the more norbixin in an annatto color, the more yellow it is. It takes on a pink shade at low pH, unless an acid-proof version is used.
  • Annatto has been linked with many cases of food-related allergies. It is the only natural food coloring believed to cause as many allergic-type reactions as artificial food coloring.

Materials and Methods:

Cotton fabric is used for applying the annatto dyes .The cotton fabric is soft fluffy stable fiber, so the fabric when it placed on the surface of the skin our body gets feel cool, relaxation, and feel so breathe freely.

Testing Methods:

1.      Rubbing Fastness.

2.      Washing Fastness

3.      Antimicrobial Testing.


1. Rubbing fastness:

  • To determine the fastness of the dyed material due to rubbing of the material.
  • Two tests are prescribed, one with a dry rubbing cloth and the other with a wet rubbing cloth.
  • Evaluate the degree of staining of the piece of undyed cloth with the geometric grey scale (staining) and assign the ratings.


2. Washing Durability:

  • To determine the effect of washing fastness to the annatto dyed fabric.
  • A specimen of textile in contact with species of specified adjacent fabric is mechanically agitated in soap solution, rinsed and dried.
  • The change in colour of the specimen and the staining of the adjacent fabrics are assessed with the standard grey scale.

3. Anti-microbial testing:

  • The term Anti-microbial points to a broad range of technologies that provide varying degrees of protection for products and buildings against microorganisms.
  • So the annatto dyed material is analyzed for anti- microbial activity.
  • The test method is carried out using AATCC test method 147-1993, 1996(parallel streak method).


Novel technologies in antimicrobial finishing are successfully employed in non-woven sector especially in medical the bioactive fibers includes sanitary materials, surgical threads, dressing materials and materials for filtration of gases and liquids, air conditioning and ventilation, and special materials for food industry also. The Ultimate goal of this research is to create a colour to the fabric and that will kill microbes but maintain all necessary textile properties including durability and comfort properties.


  1. Collins, P. (1991). Annatto legislation in Europe. In: Proceedings of 1st International symposium on Annatto; Campinas, Brazil; 17-21 June 1991; edited by Carvalho, P.R.N. and Yabiku, H.Y. Campinas, Brazil: Instituto de Tecnologa de Alimentos.
  2. Didriksen, C. (1991). Annatto on the European market. In: Proceedings of 1st International Symposium on Annatto (see under Collins, P.).
  3. International Trade Centre (1993). Annatto Seeds: Export Opportunities for the Andean Region. Geneva: International Trade Centre.
  4. Preston, H.D. and Rickard, M.D. (1980). Extraction and chemistry of annatto. Food Chemistry, 5, 47-56.
  5. Venter, M.W. (1981). The cultivation of Bixa orellana (L.). Crop Production (South Africa), 5(10), 87-89.
  6. Wood, A.B. et al. (1991). Bixinoid assay in annatto seed and its extracts: an evaluation of methods and recommendations for sample handling. Paper presented by Natural Resources Institute at the 1st Int. Symposium on Annatto, Campinas Brazil, June 1991.

Image Courtesy: