A nice little article explaining the basic science behind the prevalence of red clothing in Mexico – carminic acid, found in the Cochineal insect. With it’s high price as a red dye, an efficient total synthesis would be useful!
When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, they were shocked to see the locals wearing red clothing in their everyday life. Red was the colour of royalty in Europe, and so not only forbidden to wear, but also very very expensive to buy, and here were all these locals, parading around in red everyday clothes!
Like many dyes used in Teotitlán, the colour red is sourced traditionally, using the female cochineal beetle, a parasite that lives on the nopal cactus plant, indigenous to Mexico. After feasting on the nopal juice, the insect produces carminic acid to deter predators, and it is this acid which is used for red dye.
View original post 361 more words