A.F. Suter and Co. Ltd

Shellac, Waxes, Gums and Resins

Rosin – Colophony – Pine Rosin

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Pine Rosin – Pine Resin – Rosin Resin – Colophony – Colophonium – Rosin Gum – Gum Rosin

CAS Number: 8050-09-7
EINECS Number: 232-475-7
Natural flavoring substances and natural substances used in conjunction with flavors [21CFR172.510]
Note: Xylan is commonly referred to as Wood Rosin but has the CAS number 9014-63-5 and EINECS number 232-760-6.


Rosin is a solid resin derived from the oleo-resin (crude turpentine) exuded by various species of pine tree. Rosin is extracted by heating the oleo-resin to vaporise the essential oils (spirit of turpentine), or through a naphtha solvent process. Rosin is mainly produced in Portugal and Brazil but Indonesia, northern Vietnam, southern China, the US, Mexico and France are also producers.


Rosin is sold as a semi-transparent solid ranging in colour from yellow to black and has a faint odour of pine. The commercial grades range from A (the darkest) to K (yellow red), M (yellow brown) and N (deep yellow), through to superior WG (“Window Glass”, yellow) and WW (“Water White”, slight yellow). Rosin is brittle and easily crumbled at room temperature, but melts at around 100-120 °C and is highly flammable. Rosin dissolves in alcohol, benzene, chloroform and ether. It is also soluble in spirit of turpentine and turpentine substitute.


Food Industry

In Europe, Rosin does not have an E number, so is not authorised as a food additive, but is authorised for use “on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food” [Commission Regulation EU 10/2011]. In the US, Rosin of colour grade K or paler (e.g. WW grade) “may be safely used as the food-contact surface of articles intended for use in producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting, or holding food…” [FDA CFR 21 175.300]. Rosin is sometimes mixed with Beeswax and melted onto a piece of cloth to make Beeswax wraps.

A substance related to Rosin, Glycerol Esters of Wood Rosin (E445), is used as a glazing agent on the surface of citrus fruit. The Beverages industry uses E445 as an emulsifier in cloudy alcoholic and soft drinks.

Confectionery Industry

Glycerol Esters of Wood Rosins (E445) is used for printing on personalised and/or promotional hard-coated confectionery products.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Rosin and its derivatives are used as glazing agents for medicines, enteric coatings, and films for tablets and capsules. Rosin is also an ingredient in adhesive plasters, emollients and ointments (e.g. creams for treating nappy rash, haemorrhoids, blisters, cold sores and warts).

Wood Treatment Industry

Rosin is a constituent of varnishes, lacquers, sealing wax, glue, adhesives and fillers.

Printing & Packaging Industry

In the Printing industry, Rosin is an ingredient in printing inks and is used on etching plates. In the Paper industry, Rosin is used in paper sizing, particularly paper for photocopying and laser printing.

Other Industries

In the Electrical and Electronics industries, lead-tin solder contains Rosin as a flux, which facilitates soldering by helping the molten metal to flow and removing oxidation from the metals to be joined, improving the connection.

The Art industry uses Rosin for tempera emulsions and as a component of oil paints.

In the Music industry, musicians rub blocks of Rosin on the bows of stringed instruments to help them vibrate, and apply it to the bridges of other musical instruments to prevent them moving.

In the Sport & Leisure industry, dancers, boxers, weightlifters and fencers rub Rosin powder into their shoes to improve traction and reduce slippage. It is also applied to the starting line of drag racing courses. Gymnasts, acrobats, pole dancers, rock climbers, bull riders, ten-pin bowlers, baseball pitchers and players of other handball sports rub Rosin on their hands or gloves to improve grip. It is also used in the wax for archery bowstrings to prevent fraying and reduce wear.

In the Personal Care industry, Rosin is used in the manufacture of skin cleansers, lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow, concealer cream, hair removal wax, sun lotion and dental floss.

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