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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

The Domestication of Annatto (Bixa orellana) from Bixa urucurana in Amazonia

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Moreira, Priscila Ambrosio [1] ; Lins, Juliana [1, 2] ; Dequigiovanni, Gabriel [3] ; Veasey, Elizabeth Ann [3] ; Clement, Charles R. [2]
Total Authors: 5
[1] INPA, Postgrad Program Bot, Manaus, Amazonas Am - Brazil
[2] INPA, Coordenacao Tecnol & Inovacao, Manaus, Amazonas - Brazil
[3] Univ Sao Paulo, ESALQ, Postgrad Program Genet & Plant Breeding, BR-09500900 Sao Paulo - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 3
Document type: Journal article
Source: ECONOMIC BOTANY; v. 69, n. 2, p. 127-135, JUN 2015.
Web of Science Citations: 10

Annatto (Bixa orellana) is an important colorant domesticated in the Neotropics, although it is not clear where or from which wild populations. We reviewed the available biological, archaeological, and ethnographic information about annatto, and integrated this with our recent ethnobotanical observations of cultivated and non-cultivated populations in order to evaluate the hypothesis that what is classified as Bixa urucurana is the wild ancestor of cultivated annatto, Bixa orellana. Most B. urucurana populations we found in Amazonia occurred in open forests or anthropogenic landscapes, although never cultivated, and always associated with riparian environments. While cultivated annatto always produces abundant pigment, B. urucurana populations that we observed contained variable amounts of pigment, from very little to nearly the amount of cultivated annatto, suggesting gene flow from cultivated to non-cultivated. Bixa urucurana has indehiscent fruits, which indicate changes in dehiscence during annatto domestication, a notable feature rarely found in other tree species. Local residents identified the non-cultivated populations as wild annatto (urucum bravo), and they emphasized their smaller fruits with less pigment, their spontaneous regeneration, their non-use, and that they hybridize with cultivated annatto. Ethnography identified the symbolic importance of annatto, but an explicit mention of origin only comes from southern Amazonia. Although the oldest annatto archaeological record came from the Caribbean, domestication occurred in northern South America, since B. urucurana does not occur in the Caribbean. Traditional ecological knowledge and morphology identified the close relationship between B. urucurana (never cultivated) and B. orellana (always cultivated). Evidence reported here strongly supports Kuntze's (1925) suggestion that Bixa urucurana Willd. is a variety of B. orellana L., thus identifying the wild ancestor of cultivated annatto. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/08307-5 - Genetic structure and mating system of local varieties and wild populations of annatto (Bixa orellana L.) in Brazilian Amazonia and Central Brazil using microsatellite markers
Grantee:Elizabeth Ann Veasey
Support type: Regular Research Grants