Synthetic Pigments Analysis Service

Synthetic pigments, also known as food colorants or color additives, are any dye, pigment or substance that makes food more attractive to the eye of the consumer and to compensate for natural color variations when it is added to food or drink. They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels, and pastes. Synthetic pigments are used both in commercial food production and domestic cooking.

Synthetic Pigments

Figure1. Overview of some sources that can be used for extraction of synthetic or natural-origin pigments (Gmoser R., et al, 2017)

The use of synthetic pigments is strictly regulated in the European Union, the United States, and many other countries worldwide. There is a growing concern about the safety of some commonly used legal synthetic pigments and there is a trend to replace the synthetic forms with natural products. Additionally, a number of dyes with known or suspected genotoxic or carcinogenic properties have been shown to be added illegally to foods. Robust monitoring programs based on reliable detection methods are required to assure the synthetic pigments safety.

Synthetic Pigments at Creative Proteomics

Based on many validated analytical methods for testing synthetic pigments, Creative Proteomics can provide service for the analysis of synthetic pigments compounds in foodstuffs with high sensitivity and efficiency, including but not limited:
1. Illegal synthetic pigments: fast red, amaranth, rhodamine B, orange II, and auramine and so on.
2. Contamination cases of food: monitoring for the presence of Sudan dyes in food and so on.
3. A large range of suspect compounds

Creative Proteomics is a professional biotech company specializing in food additives test. We can provide test services for most synthetic pigments based on our analytical methods. The following table shows the type of food synthetic pigments that can be tested at Creative Proteomics. E numbers are codes for substances that are permitted to be used as food additives for use within the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The sweetening agents and test methods include but not limited:

Table1. The synthetic pigments and test methods at Creative Proteomics.

E numberChemical compoundMethods
  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS)
  • Liquid chromatography (LC)
  • Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
  • High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA)
E104Quinoline Yellow
E110Sunset Yellow FCF
E124Ponceau 4R
E129Allura Red AC
E131Patent Blue V
E133Brilliant Blue FCF
E142Green S
E143Fast Green FCF

At Creative Proteomics, our laboratory has state-of-the-art instrumentation to analyze synthetic pigments in food products. We also provide multiple chromatographic methods with different detection systems developed for the analysis of synthetic pigments in foodstuffs. Based on professional knowledge and experienced staff, Creative Proteomics provides a wide range of information about synthetic pigments. If you have any questions or specific needs, do not hesitate to contact us.

1. Stachowiak M.O.; Elliott, C.T. Food colors: Existing and emerging food safety concerns. Food Science and Nutrition. 2015, 57(3): 524-548.
2. Gmoser R.; et al. Filamentous ascomycetes fungi as a source of natural pigments. Fungal Biology and Biotechnology. 2017, 4(4): 1-25.

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