Alkanin, alkanet (E103)

Nowadays, there are a great variety of artificially synthesized nutritional supplements. There are also substances of natural, plant origin. One of them is alkine food coloring marked with the E103 code. However, does the fact of naturalness make this dye safer for human use, and what should be expected from such a nutritional supplement?

General properties of alkane dye

Alkanin is a natural dye of vegetable origin. Other acceptable names are: alkanet, alkannin, alkanet, E103, Alkanna tinctoria root extract, Chrysoine resorcinol.

This substance helps to impart a stable color range to various products: wool, wood, stone, oils, vinegar, wine, soap, ointments, varnishes, lipstick. Thanks to this dye, they acquire a dark red, closer to burgundy, color with a slight golden hue. Such a nutritional supplement was often used in the past to add aesthetic beauty to cheap brands of wine.

Dye E103 is obtained from the root of alkanes dye, a plant that is common throughout the Mediterranean region, and has been used for dyeing since ancient times.

Alkanet is a fat-soluble substance that breaks down when exposed to strong oxidizing agents. As a result of this reaction, sulfur, nitric oxide and carbon are formed. The molecular formula of this substance is C12H9N2NaO5S.

Looks like alkine as a burgundy or terracotta powder, turning purple in an alkaline environment. The dye is readily soluble in ethyl alcohol, oily liquids and ethers, and is completely insoluble in water.

The use of natural dye E103

More recently, such a vegetable dye was widely used in the Russian Federation. It was widely used in production volumes. Often it was used to color cheap brands of wines, and it was also used to color wine corks for bottles. The fact is that low-quality alcoholic drinks were clogged with such corks in order to give them a noble look of aged vintage wines.

Also, with the help of this food additive, the color of products lost during various types of processing can be easily restored.

Today, such a substance of natural origin is used to color ointments, creams, various oils, tinctures and other cosmetics.

E103 dye is used to give the desired shade to natural fibers: wool, stone, wood, is part of the stain, which is used to color wood.

In addition, this substance is widely used as a component for the manufacture of personal care products: lotions and soaps.

Beneficial properties and harm of dye E103

The concept of natural and vegetable is most often associated in humans with something natural and useful for life. However, even natural ingredients can be a source of threat to human health.

Some sources claim that the natural dye alkine is a carcinogen and promotes cancer.

It is because of the research that this dietary supplement labeled E103 has been banned in many countries. Since 1984, it has not been allowed to be used in the food industry in European countries, and in 1988 it was banned in the United States of America. And only since August 2008 it has been officially banned in the Russian Federation.

However, in experiments performed in Switzerland on rats, it has been shown that such a substance causes a health hazard with long-term regular use of its high doses.

In contact with the skin and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth, alkanine causes severe burning, tearing, provokes the development of irritation and ulcers.

One of the useful properties of the dye is its ability to heal wounds.

Instead of conclusions

The natural plant substance alkine, better known as E103, is a powerful dye widely used in various industries, especially cosmetics. Previously, it was also used as a food additive in the production of various food products, but later its carcinogenic properties were revealed and such use immediately fell under state prohibitions. But at the moment, research on this substance is ongoing, because it is known for certain that a carcinogenic effect is manifested only with prolonged and constant use of it.

  1. Smirnov, E. V. Food coloring: a handbook. - St. Petersburg.: Profession, 2009. - 352 p.
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