February 10/Ouro Preto, Brazil/Journal of Technology & Science -- According to a study from Ouro Preto, Brazil, "Annatto extract is a natural food color obtained from the outer coatings of the seeds of the Annatto tree (Bixa orellana L.). This is the first report in the literature that shows the relationship between the aqueous annatto extract and its influence on lipid profile in animals."
"Male Fisher rats were divided into three groups (n=12): C group, fed standard diet and water; H group, fed high-lipid diet and water and: HU group, with high-lipid diet and aqueous annatto extract for 60 days. The treatment with annatto extract in animals fed with the high-lipid diet lowered the LDL- and total cholesterol and raised the HDL-cholesterol, suggesting a hypocholesterolemic effect," wrote H. Depaula and colleagues, Federal University.
The researchers concluded, "Neither high-fat diet nor aqueous annatto extract had any significant effect on serum levels of albumin or serum activities of transaminases, which suggested that no liver injury was induced."
Depaula and colleagues published the results of their research in Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology ("Effect of an Aqueous Extract of Annatto (Bixa orellana) Seeds on Lipid Profile and Biochemical Markers of Renal and Hepatic Function in Hipercholesterolemic Rats." Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology, 2009;52(6):1373-1378).
For additional information, contact M.E. Silva, Federal University of Ouro Preto, Nucleo Pesquisas Biol, Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil.
From the February 15, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition