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Information @ a Glance


  • Carmine is a natural dye (cochineal dye).
  • This natural colorant "Carmine" is the purified form of a colorant known as cochineal.
  • Carmine is a pigment of a bright red color obtained from the carminic acid produced by some scale insects, such as the cochineal and the Polish cochineal, and is used as a general term for a particularly deep red color.
  • Carmine is used together with a mordant solution of lithium, aluminium or boron as a lake for staining.


  • Carmine may be prepared from cochineal, by boiling dried insects in water to extract the carminic acid and then treating the clear solution with alum, cream of tartar, stannous chloride, or potassium hydrogen oxalate; the coloring and animal matters present in the liquid are thus precipitated.
  • 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.
  • The dried cochineal, which contains 17 to 24 percent carminic acid, is subjected to a carefully controlled extraction process in an acidic, aqueous, alcoholic solution.


  • Today cochineal has been surpassed as a dye for cloth by a number of synthetic pigments, but is still widely used as a coloring agent for a number of foodstuffs , beverages, and cosmetics (because many of those synthetic dyes proved dangerous to humans when taken internally or allowed to leach into the body through the skin).
  • The present day market price of cochineal is between 50 and 80 dollars per kilo and its demand is growing because of increasing evidence that artificial colorings can be hazardous. 


  • Carmine is used in the manufacture of artificial flowers, paints, rouge, yogurt, cosmetics, food additives, and crimson ink.
  • Carmine is used as a food dye in many different products such as juice, ice cream, yogurt, and candies, eyeshadow, lipstick, etc.
  • Carmine is a dye used mainly for coloring food products and galenicals but also in inks.
  • Carmine is used for various stainings, e.g. for demonstration of glycogen and mucous substances (Bestís carmine), for nuclear staining after silver impregnation or for vital staining.

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