Document Type: Review Article


1 Graduate of Master Textile Engineering, branch Tehran, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Specializing in the affairs herbal and industrial dyeing crude materials for exquisite carpet weaving, Kashan, Iran


Cochineal is the name of both crimson or carmine dye and the cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus), a scale insect from which the dye is derived. There are other species in the genus Dactylopius which can be used to produce cochineal extract, but they are extremely difficult to distinguish from D. coccus, even for expert taxonomists, and the latter scientific name (and the use of the term "cochineal insect") is therefore commonly used when one is actually referring to other biological species. D. coccus itself is native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico. This insect lives on cacti from the genus Opuntia, feeding on moisture and nutrients in the cacti. The insect produces carminic acid which deters predation by other insects. Carminic acid can be extracted from the insect's body and eggs to make the dye. Cochineal is primarily used as a food coloring and for cosmetics


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