cochineal


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to cochineal: Cochineal dye

cochineal

(kŏchĭnēl`, kŏch`ĭnēl), natural dye obtained from an extract of the bodies of the females of the cochineal bug (Dactylopius confusus) found on certain species of cactus, especially Nopalea coccinellifera, native to Mexico and Central America. The insects' bodies contain the pigment called carminic acid, which is obtained by subjecting a mass of the crushed insects to steam or dry heat; such large numbers of the insects are needed to produce a small amount of dye that the cost is high. Once commonly used as a scarlet-red mordant dye for wool and as a food color, cochineal has been largely replaced by synthetic products. It is used chiefly now as a biological stain.

Cochineal

 

the general name for several species of insects of various families of the suborder Cocciodea, the females of which are used to make a red dye called carmine. Mexican cochineal (Dactylopius coccus), the most highly valued species, lives on the cochineal cactus. Native to Mexico, it is also cultivated in Central America, Western Europe (Spain), North Africa, and eastern Asia and has almost entirely replaced other species on the world market. Other cochineal species include Armenian cochineal (Porphyrophora hamelii ), which is found in Armenia on the roots of grasses, and Polish cochineal (P. polonicd), found in Western Europe and the European USSR on the roots of strawberries and other herbaceous plants. In the 20th century the development of synthetic dyes has sharply reduced the cultivation of cochineal insects, although natural carmine is still used in some industries, such as food processing and perfume manufacture, and for staining microscopic preparations.

cochineal

[′käch·ə‚nēl]
(chemistry)
A red dye made of the dried bodies of the female cochineal insect (Coccus cacti), found in Central America and Mexico; used as a biological stain and indicator.

cochineal

1. a Mexican homopterous insect, Dactylopius coccus, that feeds on cacti
2. 
a. the colour of this dye
b. (as adjective): cochineal shoes
References in periodicals archive ?
As far as cochineal red goes, it was extracted from the female cochineal insect that infests certain species of cactus.
This spring, Starbucks, the Seattle based-coffee giant, made headlines over the company's use of cochineal extract as a colorant in four food and two beverage offerings in the U.
Although substances like castoreum and cochineal extract may be long on the "yuck factor," (4) research has shown them to be perfectly safe for most people; strident opposition arose not from safety issues but from the ingredients' origins.
It's about bringing awareness to the people of the dangers and extinction of the animals, which are 100 per cent Mexican, such as the hummingbird, the turtle and the cochineal insect," said sculptor Emanuel Vazquez Hernandez.
Two organisms that are fascinating--and that one would never think of as having the impact on history that they have--are the cochineal (Dactylopius coccus; p.
Then you've almost certainly been consuming the juice of the female cochineal insect.
The Seattle-based coffee giant also said that it will no longer use cochineal extract, which is processed from crushed beetles, to colour some of its red-tinted products.
In Georgian and Victorian times eggs were boiled and coloured with natural dyes - cochineal, onion skins, bright green leaves with designs drawn in tallow.
1) Nikiforuk makes a simple entomological error here: several pages are devoted to cochineal insects as if they were beetles; they are, in fact, scale insects, close relatives of aphids.
Its trademark deep red hue was originally obtained using carmine dye, which is derived from cochineal insects.
The reddish cochineal extract and carmine came to the attention of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 1998.