Quinoline yellow (E104)

Quinoline yellow belongs to azo dyes, that is, it contains two nitrogen atoms connected by a double bond in its structure. The substance has a yellow-green, unnaturally bright color and colors products in which manufacturers add it. Despite the fact that it can achieve a stable and attractive shade of the product, improve its attractiveness and appearance, the use of quinoline yellow today causes a lot of controversy and questions. Most states have abandoned this dye in food, although in some countries, for example, in Russia and Ukraine, it is widely added to various foods. What is food supplement E104?

The chemical composition of the substance, its features and properties, methods of obtaining

The structure of the dye is an organic compound of the heterocyclic series, which contains, in addition to nitrogen atoms, several sulfur atoms, then is, in fact, it is sodium salt. It can be used to dissolve sulfur and phosphorus.

The melting point of the additive is 150 degrees Celsius and above. It is resistant to aggressive environments (acidic and alkaline), to light and temperature.

Based on some features of the molecular structure, two types of food additive E104 are distinguished: quinoline yellow WS, which is highly soluble in water, and its sulfonated form - quinoline yellow SS (soluble in alcohols ).

The substance is completely synthetic, it is obtained by the condensation of 2-methylquinoline with phthalic anhydride. The result of the reaction is subjected to sulfonation. The structure may contain impurities of chloride and sodium sulfate.

The pronounced property of the additive is coloring, therefore, in industry it is used precisely to give products a color different from their natural color, to enhance the natural color of the product, or to return it if it was lost during the thermal or other processing. Thus, manufacturers get a product that is more attractive to the buyer.

By using quinoline yellow alone, the product can be given a yellow or golden yellow color, respectively. By mixing it with other dyes, you can achieve a green, light green, orange, brown or black tint.

Industrial use of azo dye E104

The main part of the produced additive is consumed by the food industry. The colorant is often found in formulations of:

  • chewing gums;
  • lozenges and dragees, including for the treatment of coughs;
  • smoked fish (to give it a characteristic golden hue, which does not appear during natural smoking);
  • ice cream, desserts, popsicles, glazed fruits and berries, jelly and marmalade;
  • dry snacks based on potatoes, starch, cereals;
  • alcoholic beverages, fruit wines, cider ;
  • muffins, flour and bakery products;
  • pasta;
  • sauces, mustards and condiments;
  • fish products (paste, minced surimi, caviar).

In Europe, there are requirements to limit the daily intake of a substance - no more than 0.5 mg per 1 kilogram of adult weight, although a decade ago this figure was significantly larger - up to 10 mg.

In addition to the manufacture of food products, the additive E104 is used in the cosmetic, perfumery, pharmaceutical and chemical industries: it is added to hair dyes, lipsticks, blush and eye shadow, colognes, soaps, shampoos, various hair care products, shower gels and toothpaste. The component is found in some drugs.

How quinoline yellow affects human health

E104 dye refers to substances with an average level of danger, closer to dangerous. Its daily intake for an adult is strictly regulated, but even in such a small amount, the substance can harm the human body.

It seems that the only advantage of quinoline yellow is that it does not accumulate in the body, but is excreted through the kidneys with urine.

At the same time, the use of the substance can provoke the appearance of dermatitis, chronic rhinitis, urticaria. For asthmatics, it is dangerous because it causes asthma attacks, anaphylaxis, laryngeal edema and bronchospasm. For the same reason, it should not be taken by people allergic to aspirin.

In children, the dietary supplement causes hyperactivity and attention disorders, headaches, aggression and impaired nervous reactions.

Negative effects on the organs of the digestive tract have been identified in experimental studies on laboratory animals, so people with diseases of the stomach, liver, pancreas and intestines should refrain from eating food with quinoline yellow in the composition.


In addition, there is information about the oncogenicity of the dye - its use can provoke the development of cancerous tumors.

There are no data on the benefits of the substance in science today.

Japan, USA, Canada, Norway and some other countries of the European Union are very categorical about quinoline yellow, leaving it for use only in technical industries. Ukraine and Russia allow the addition of the substance to foodstuffs, but with some restrictions. The harm brought by the food additive E104 is scientifically proven and justified, therefore, consumers in countries where it is used in food products have to study the compositions on food labels more carefully so that when using it, they do not receive a toxic dose of quinoline yellow with food.

Its effect on the body is characterized by symptoms of toxic poisoning and allergies. With prolonged use, the substance can cause oncological diseases, therefore it belongs to food additives of an average level of danger.

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