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Azorubine (Molecule of the Month for September 2007)

E122, Carmoisine, Food Red 3, Azorubin S, Brillantcarmoisin O, Acid Red 14, C.I. 14720

Azorubine is a synthetic red food dye from the azo dye group. It is a red to maroon powder. It is used for the purposes where the food is heat-treated after fermentation. It has E number E122.

Some of the foods it can be present in are blancmange, marzipan, Swiss roll, jams, preserves, yoghurts, jellies, breadcrumbs, and cheesecake mixes. It is also present in Oraldene Mouthwash.

Azorubine is commonly used in the UK, but it is a prohibited food additive in Japan, Norway, and the United States. A study commissioned by the UK's Food Standards Agency found that when used in a mixture of other preservatives, increased levels of hyperactivity in children were observed.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
disodium (E)-4-hydroxy-3-((4-sulfonatonaphthalen-1-yl)diazenyl)naphthalene-1-sulfonate




Picture of Azorubine

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Azorubine structure
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Picture of Azorubine

C20 H12 N2 Na2 O7 S2

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for September 2007 )