Oxidative Effects of Tartrazine (CAS No. 1934-21-0) and New Coccin (CAS No. 2611-82-7) Azo Dyes on CHO Cells


Color is an indispensible characteristic of food because it makes foods easily recognizable and attractive in our modern society. Numerous food colors have been removed from the national and international lists of “accepted food colors” due to their mutagenic and carcinogenic activities based on a number of toxicity studies that have been conducted since food colors were first identified as carcinogenic by researchers. This study investigated the changes in oxidative stress parameters such as glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, and catalase (CAT) activity that occurred when Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were exposed to Tartrazine (CAS No. 1934-21-0) and New Coccin (CAS No. 2611-82-7), commonly-used azo dyes in the food industry. It was found that intracellular GSH significantly decreased, MDA levels increased, and GPx and CAT levels remained the same, (as compared to the control), when CHO cells were exposed to these food colors. Based on our results, Tartrazine and New Coccin food colors can be regarded as toxic. Considering the possible oxidative damage induced by these food colors, due to the depletion of GSH (a cell's major antioxidant), and a significant increase in MDA levels, we strongly believe that the use of these potentially toxic colors in food needs to be reconsidered.



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