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Sudan I (Molecule of the Month for January 2006)

CI Solvent Yellow 14, Solvent Orange R

Sudan I is an azo dyeand is used as an additive to colour waxes, oils, petrol, solvents and polishes. Sudan I had also been adopted for colouring various foodstuffs, including particular brands of curry powder and chili powder, although the use of Sudan I in foods is now banned in many countries due to reports on its possible health risks.

Sudan I is a powdered substance with an orange-red appearance.

The dye has been declared a possible carcinogen. Laboratory tests on mice showed growth of cancerous tumours in the liver. Tumours also developed in the bladder, following a direct injection into the urinary bladder. Tests via oral administration have so far proved negative. These tests have led to the additive being banned from use in foods throughout the EU, as it may pose an increased risk of cancer. Even though the amount of Sudan I used in popular foods is small, the proposed health risks are still high. Sudan I is also present as an impurity in Sunset Yellow, which is its disulfonated water-soluble version.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)



Picture of Sudan I 3D model

click on the picture of  Sudan I above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Sudan I structure
(this will open a new browser window)

Picture of Sudan I


Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for January 2006 )

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