Home > E133 (Molecule of the Month for November 2008)

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Picture of E133

C37 H34 N2 Na2 O9 S3

Brilliant Blue FCF, also known under commercial names, is a colorant for foods and other substances to induce a color change. It is denoted by E number E133 and has a color index of 42090. It has the appearance of a reddish-blue powder. It is soluble in water, and the solution has a maximum absorption at about 630 nanometer. It is a synthetic dye derived from coal tar. It can be combined with tartrazine (E102) to produce various shades of green.

As a blue color, Brilliant Blue FCF is often found in ice cream, tinned processed peas, dairy products, sweets, and drinks. It is also used in soaps, shampoos, and other hygiene and cosmetics applications. In soil science, Brilliant Blue is applied in tracing studies to visualize infiltration and water distribution in the soil.

It has previously been banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland among others but has been certified as a safe food additive in the EU and is today unbanned in most of the countries. In the United States production exceeds 1 million pounds annually, and daily consumption is around 16 mg per person.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)




Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for November 2008 )