The effect of salt stress on pigment synthesis and antioxidant enzyme activity as well as in the genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of bixin was studied. The 14-day germinated seedlings of Bixa orellana were induced into the various NaCl concentration (0, 25, 50, 75, 100 mM). After 45 days, leaves were taken for pigment analysis, antioxidant assays, and gene expression analysis to study the response of salt stress. The pigment content such as chlorophyll level was increased upon salt stress with a reduction in total carotenoid clearly indicating the adaptability of plants towards the stressed state. The level of β-carotene was increased in the highest concentration of salt stress treatment. The secondary metabolites such as bixin and abscisic acid (ABA) content were also high in elevated concentration of salt-treated seedling than control. The antioxidant enzyme activity was increased with the highest dose of salt stress suggesting the antioxidant enzymes to protect the plant from the deleterious effects. The mRNA transcript gene of the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway such as phytoene synthase (PSY), 1-deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS), phytoene desaturase (PDS), beta-lycopene cyclase (LCY-β), epsilon lycopene cyclase (LCY-ε), carboxyl methyl transferase (CMT), aldehyde dehydrogenase (ADH), lycopene cleavage dioxygenase (LCD), and carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (CCD) showed differential expression pattern under salt stress. In addendum, we studied the co-expression network analysis of gene to assess the co-related genes associated in the biosynthesis pathway of carotenoid. From the co-expression analysis result showed, the LCY, PDS, and PSY genes were closely correlated with other genes. These finding may provide insight to the plants to exist in the stress condition and to improve the industrially important pigment production. © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.