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Carmine

Carmine

Overview
Carmine also called Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red #4, C.I. 75470, or E120, is a pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

 of a bright-red
Red
Red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye, in the wavelength range of roughly 630–740 nm. Longer wavelengths than this are called infrared , and cannot be seen by the naked eye...

 color obtained from the aluminum salt of carminic acid
Carminic acid
Carminic acid is a red glucosidal hydroxyanthrapurin that occurs naturally in some scale insects, such as the cochineal and the Polish cochineal. The insects produce the acid as a deterrent to predators. Carminic acid is the colouring agent in carmine. Synonyms are C.I. 75470 and C.I...

, which is produced by some scale insect
Scale insect
The scale insects are small insects of the order Hemiptera, generally classified as the superfamily Coccoidea. There are about 8,000 species of scale insects.-Ecology:...

s, such as the cochineal
Cochineal
The cochineal is a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the crimson-colour dye carmine is derived. A primarily sessile parasite native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico, this insect lives on cacti from the genus Opuntia, feeding on plant moisture and...

 beetle and the Polish cochineal
Polish cochineal
Polish cochineal , also known as Polish carmine scales, is a scale insect formerly used to produce a crimson dye of the same name, colloquially known as "Saint John's blood". The larvae of P...

, and is used as a general term for a particularly deep-red color of the same name
Carmine (color)
Carmine is the general term for a particularly deep red color. Some Rubies are colored the color shown below as rich carmine. The deep red color shown below as carmine is the color of the raw unprocessed pigment, but lighter, richer, or brighter colors are produced when the raw pigment is...

. Carmine is used in the manufacture of artificial flowers, paints, crimson
Crimson
Crimson is a strong, bright, deep red color. It is originally the color of the dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio, but the name is now also used as a generic term for those slightly bluish-red colors that are between red and rose; besides crimson itself, these colors include...

 ink, rouge, and other cosmetics, and is routinely added to food products such as yogurt and certain brands of juice, the most notable ones being those of the ruby-red variety.
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Encyclopedia
Carmine also called Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red #4, C.I. 75470, or E120, is a pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

 of a bright-red
Red
Red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye, in the wavelength range of roughly 630–740 nm. Longer wavelengths than this are called infrared , and cannot be seen by the naked eye...

 color obtained from the aluminum salt of carminic acid
Carminic acid
Carminic acid is a red glucosidal hydroxyanthrapurin that occurs naturally in some scale insects, such as the cochineal and the Polish cochineal. The insects produce the acid as a deterrent to predators. Carminic acid is the colouring agent in carmine. Synonyms are C.I. 75470 and C.I...

, which is produced by some scale insect
Scale insect
The scale insects are small insects of the order Hemiptera, generally classified as the superfamily Coccoidea. There are about 8,000 species of scale insects.-Ecology:...

s, such as the cochineal
Cochineal
The cochineal is a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the crimson-colour dye carmine is derived. A primarily sessile parasite native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico, this insect lives on cacti from the genus Opuntia, feeding on plant moisture and...

 beetle and the Polish cochineal
Polish cochineal
Polish cochineal , also known as Polish carmine scales, is a scale insect formerly used to produce a crimson dye of the same name, colloquially known as "Saint John's blood". The larvae of P...

, and is used as a general term for a particularly deep-red color of the same name
Carmine (color)
Carmine is the general term for a particularly deep red color. Some Rubies are colored the color shown below as rich carmine. The deep red color shown below as carmine is the color of the raw unprocessed pigment, but lighter, richer, or brighter colors are produced when the raw pigment is...

. Carmine is used in the manufacture of artificial flowers, paints, crimson
Crimson
Crimson is a strong, bright, deep red color. It is originally the color of the dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio, but the name is now also used as a generic term for those slightly bluish-red colors that are between red and rose; besides crimson itself, these colors include...

 ink, rouge, and other cosmetics, and is routinely added to food products such as yogurt and certain brands of juice, the most notable ones being those of the ruby-red variety.

To prepare carmine, the powdered scale insect bodies are boiled in ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

 or a sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the...

 solution, the insoluble matter is removed by filtering, and alum
Alum
Alum is both a specific chemical compound and a class of chemical compounds. The specific compound is the hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate with the formula KAl2.12H2O. The wider class of compounds known as alums have the related empirical formula, AB2.12H2O.-Chemical properties:Alums are...

 is added to the clear salt solution of carminic acid to precipitate the red aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 salt, called "carmine lake" or "crimson lake." Purity of color is ensured by the absence of iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

. Stannous chloride, citric acid
Citric acid
Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

, borax
Borax
Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.Borax has a wide variety of uses...

, or gelatin
Gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

 may be added to regulate the formation of the precipitate. For shades of purple
Purple
Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue, and is classified as a secondary color as the colors are required to create the shade....

, lime
Calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime,...

 is added to the alum; thus, the traditional crimson color is guaranteed not only by carminic acid but also by choice of its chelating metal salt ion.

Etymology


The French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 word carmin (12 c.),from Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 karmir vordan "red crimson" - ancient armenian cochineal , from Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors,...

 carminium, from Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 qirmiz "crimson", from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 krimiga "insect-produced", from krmi "worm, insect". Influenced in Latin by minium "red lead, cinnabar", said to be of Iberian origin.

Production



Carmine may be prepared from cochineal
Cochineal
The cochineal is a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the crimson-colour dye carmine is derived. A primarily sessile parasite native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico, this insect lives on cacti from the genus Opuntia, feeding on plant moisture and...

, by boiling dried insects in water to extract the carminic acid and then treating the clear solution with alum
Alum
Alum is both a specific chemical compound and a class of chemical compounds. The specific compound is the hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate with the formula KAl2.12H2O. The wider class of compounds known as alums have the related empirical formula, AB2.12H2O.-Chemical properties:Alums are...

. Other substances such as cream of tartar
Potassium bitartrate
Potassium hydrogen tartrate, also known as Potassium bitartrate, has formula KC4H5O6, is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking it is known as cream of tartar. It is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid, a carboxylic acid.-Occurrence:...

, stannous chloride
Tin(II) chloride
Tin chloride is a white crystalline solid with the formula 2. It forms a stable dihydrate, but aqueous solutions tend to undergo hydrolysis, particularly if hot. SnCl2 is widely used as a reducing agent , and in electrolytic baths for tin-plating...

, or potassium hydrogen oxalate can also be used to affect the precipitation, but aluminum is needed for the color. Use of these chemicals causes the coloring and animal matters present in the liquid to be precipitated to give a lake pigment
Lake pigment
A lake pigment is a pigment manufactured by precipitating a dye with an inert binder, usually a metallic salt. The word lake is a homonym of lake as body of water and does not refer to it....

. Aluminum from the alum gives the traditional crimson color to carminic acid precipitates, which are called carmine lakes or crimson lakes. This color is degraded by the presence of iron salts. Addition of lime (calcium) can give carminic acid lakes a purple cast.

Other methods for the production of carmine dye are in use, in which egg white
Egg white
Egg white is the common name for the clear liquid contained within an egg. In chickens it is formed from the layers of secretions of the anterior section of the hen's oviduct during the passage of the egg. It forms around either fertilized or unfertilized egg yolks...

, fish glue
Isinglass
Isinglass is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized gluing purposes....

, or gelatine is sometimes added before the precipitation.

The carminic acid used to produce the pigment can also be extracted from various microbes engineered for the purpose
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

. Microbes are dissolved in a containment structure separate from their cultivation vats, and then allowed to settle out. The liquid and suspended carminic acid
Carminic acid
Carminic acid is a red glucosidal hydroxyanthrapurin that occurs naturally in some scale insects, such as the cochineal and the Polish cochineal. The insects produce the acid as a deterrent to predators. Carminic acid is the colouring agent in carmine. Synonyms are C.I. 75470 and C.I...

 is then siphoned off, and metal salts are then added to give a lake pigment in a procedure that is mostly identical to the procedure for acid extracted from insects.

The quality of carmine is affected by the temperature and the degree of illumination during its preparation, sunlight being requisite for the production of a brilliant hue. It also differs according to the amount of alumina
Aluminium oxide
Aluminium oxide is an amphoteric oxide with the chemical formula 23. It is commonly referred to as alumina, or corundum in its crystalline form, as well as many other names, reflecting its widespread occurrence in nature and industry...

 present in it. It is sometimes adulterated with cinnabar
Cinnabar
Cinnabar or cinnabarite , is the common ore of mercury.-Word origin:The name comes from κινναβαρι , a Greek word most likely applied by Theophrastus to several distinct substances...

, starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

 and other materials; from these, the carmine can be separated by dissolving it in ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

. Good carmine should crumble readily between the fingers when dry.

Carmine can be used as a staining
Staining (biology)
Staining is an auxiliary technique used in microscopy to enhance contrast in the microscopic image. Stains and dyes are frequently used in biology and medicine to highlight structures in biological tissues for viewing, often with the aid of different microscopes...

 agent in microbiology, as a Best's carmine to stain glycogen
Glycogen
Glycogen is a molecule that serves as the secondary long-term energy storage in animal and fungal cells, with the primary energy stores being held in adipose tissue...

, mucicarmine to stain acidic mucopolysaccharides, and carmalum to stain cell nuclei
Cell nucleus
In cell biology, the nucleus is a membrane-enclosed organelle found in eukaryotic cells. It contains most of the cell's genetic material, organized as multiple long linear DNA molecules in complex with a large variety of proteins, such as histones, to form chromosomes. The genes within these...

. In these applications, it is applied together with a mordant
Mordant
A mordant is a substance used to set dyes on fabrics or tissue sections by forming a coordination complex with the dye which then attaches to the fabric or tissue. It may be used for dyeing fabrics, or for intensifying stains in cell or tissue preparations. The term mordant comes from the Latin...

, usually an Al(III)
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 salt.

Allergy


Carmine is used as a food dye
Food coloring
Food coloring is a substance, liquid or powder, that is added to food or drink to change its color. Food coloring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking...

 in many different products such as juices, ice cream, yogurt, and candy, and as a dye in cosmetic products such as eyeshadow and lipstick. Although principally a red dye, it is found in many foods that are shades of red, pink, and purple. As a food dye it has been known to cause severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock in some people.

Food products containing carmine-based food dye may prove to be a concern for people allergic to carmine, or people choosing not to consume any or certain animals, such as vegetarians
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

, vegans
Veganism
Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only...

, and followers of religions with dietary law (e.g., kashrut
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

 in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and halaal in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

).

United States


In January 2006, the FDA evaluated a proposal that would require food products containing carmine to list it by name on the ingredient label. It was also announced that the FDA will separately review the ingredient labels of prescription drugs that contain colorings derived from carmine. A request from the Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit watchdog and consumer advocacy group focusing on nutritional education and awareness.-History and funding:...

 (article titled: "FDA Urged to Improve Labeling of or Ban Carmine Food Coloring") to require ingredient labels to explicitly state that carmine may cause severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock and that it is derived from insects was declined by the FDA. Food industries were aggressively opposed to the idea of writing "insect-based" on the label, and they finally agreed to putting simply "carmine."

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, carmine is approved as dye for foodstuffs. In January 2009, FDA passed a new regulation requiring carmine and cochineal to be listed by name on the label.

Although concerns over hazards from allergic reactions have been asserted, the United States Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 agency (FDA) has not banned the use of carmine and states it found no evidence of a "significant hazard" to the general population. As with many chemical compounds, the dye may still pose an allergen
Allergen
An allergen is any substance that can cause an allergy. In technical terms, an allergen is a non-parasitic antigen capable of stimulating a type-I hypersensitivity reaction in atopic individuals....

 hazard to a subset of the population.

European Union


In the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, the use of carmine in foods is regulated under the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

's directives governing food additives in general and food dyes in particular and listed under the names Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines and Natural Red 4 as additive E 120 in the list of EU-approved food additives
E number
E numbers are number codes for food additives that have been assessed for use within the European Union . They are commonly found on food labels throughout the European Union. Safety assessment and approval are the responsibility of the European Food Safety Authority...

. The directive governing food dyes approves the use of carmine for certain groups of foods only and specifies a maximum amount which is permitted or restricts it to the quantum satis
Quantum satis
Quantum satis is a Latin term meaning the amount which is needed. It has its origins as a quantity specification in medicine and pharmacology , where a similar term quantum sufficit has been used...

.

The EU-Directive 2000/13/EC on food labeling mandates that carmines (like all food additives) must be included in the list of ingredients of a food product with its additive category and listed name or additive number, that is either as Food colour carmines or as Food colour E 120 in the local language(s) of the market(s) the product is sold in.

Although concerns of hazards from allergic reactions were raised, the use of carmine in foods is not banned in the EU. However, the use of carmine in foods has been discouraged by European food safety authorities
European Food Safety Authority
The European Food Safety Authority is an agency of the European Union that provides independent scientific advice and communication on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain, created by European Regulation 178/2002....

, and, although it is used predominantly as coloring in alcoholic beverages, it can still be found in foods such as supermarket Indian curries. A re-evaluation process of the approval status of several food colors (including carmine) was started by the Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food of the European Food Safety Authority in early 2006 and is scheduled to be completed by 2008.

External links