Kermes

Kermes is a well-known red colorant in eastern Europe. It is derived from the insects Kermes ilicis or Kermococcus vermilis, which are found in the aboveground portions of several species of oak, particularly Quercus coccifera, the "Kermes Oak." The pigment in kermes is kermisic acid, the aglycone of carminic acid (Fig. 1). It also occurs as an isomer ceroalbolinic acid (Fig. 1). The pigment is obviously closely related to carminic acid, and the properties are very similar. Colorants from kermes are not permitted in the United States.

ents were issued in the 1963 to 1984 era (2), and a large number of new compounds in this class have been reported (3). Interest as food colorants stems mainly from their stability and high tinctorial strength. They were the chro-mophores of choice in the "linked polymer" concept of colorants pioneered by the Dynapol Company, but this concept is no longer being commercialized (2).

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