Brilliant Blue FCF

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"Blue 1" redirects here. For the airline, see Blue1.
Not to be confused with Coomassie Brilliant Blue.
Brilliant Blue FCF
Brilliant Blue FCF.png
Brilliant Blue FCF ball-and-stick.png
Brilliant Blue FCF ball-and-stick animation.gif
IUPAC name
ethyl - [4 - [ [4 - [ethyl -[(3 - sulfophenyl) methyl] amino] phenyl] - (2 - sulfophenyl) methylidene] - 1 - cyclohexa - 2, 5 - dienylidene] - [(3 - sulfophenyl) methyl] azanium
Other names
FD&C Blue No.1
Acid Blue 9
D&C Blue No. 4
Alzen Food Blue No. 1
Atracid Blue FG
Eriosky blue
Patent Blue AR
Xylene Blue VSG
C.I. 42090
3844-45-9 YesY
ChemSpider 18556 YesY
Jmol interactive 3D Image
PubChem 19700
Molar mass 792.85 g/mol.
NFPA 704
Flammability code 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g., canola oil Health code 2: Intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury. E.g., chloroform Reactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g., liquid nitrogen Special hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
N verify (what is YesYN ?)
Infobox references

Brilliant Blue FCF (Blue 1), also known under commercial names, is a colorant for foods and other substances. It is denoted by E number E133 and has a color index of 42090. It has the appearance of a reddish-blue powder. It is soluble in water, and the solution has a maximum absorption at about 628 nanometers.


It is a synthetic dye produced using aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum.[1] It can be combined with tartrazine (E102) to produce various shades of green.

It is usually a disodium salt. The diammonium salt has CAS number 3844-45-9. Calcium and potassium salts are also permitted. It can also appear as an aluminium lake. The chemical formation is C37H34N2Na2O9S3. The dye is poorly absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract and 95% of the ingested dye can be found in the feces.


As a blue color, Brilliant Blue FCF is often found in ice cream, canned processed peas, packet soups, bottled food colorings, icings, ice pops, blue raspberry flavored products, dairy products, sweets[2] and drinks, especially the liqueur blue curaçao. It is also used in soaps, shampoos, mouthwash[3] and other hygiene and cosmetics applications. In soil science, Brilliant Blue is applied in tracing studies to visualize infiltration and water distribution in the soil.

Health and safety[edit]

In the United Kingdom, Smarties chocolates were colored with Brilliant Blue FCF (top) until 2008, later being replaced with a natural spirulina coloring (bottom).

Brilliant Blue FCF is an approved food colorant and pharmacologically inactive substance for drug formulations in the EU and the United States. It is also legal in other countries. It has the capacity for inducing allergic reactions in individuals with pre-existing moderate asthma.[4] In 2003, the U.S. FDA issued a public health advisory to warn health care providers of the potential toxicity of this synthetic dye in enteral feeding solutions.[5] The following legal limits apply in the EU (E 131) and other countries: 150-300 mg/kg depending on the type of food. Safety limit for foods and drugs: 0.1 mg/day per kg body weight.[6] The ADI for Brilliant Blue FCF is 10 mg/kg.

Biomedical research[edit]

Scientists who were conducting in-vivo studies of compounds to lessen the severity of inflammation following experimental spinal cord injury had previously tested a compound called OxATP to block a key ATP receptor in spinal neurons. However, OxATP has toxic side effects and must be injected directly into the spinal cord; in searching for alternatives they noted that Brilliant Blue FCF has a similar structure. This led them to test a related dye, Brilliant Blue G (also known as Coomassie Brilliant Blue) in rats, which improved recovery from spinal cord injury.[7]


  1. ^ El Ali, Bassam M.; Bassam El Ali; Ali, Mohammad Farahat (2005). Handbook of industrial chemistry: organic chemicals. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-141037-6. 
  2. ^ Nestle Aero packet ingredients listing barcode: 7613031579334
  3. ^ "LISTERINE Antiseptic Mouthwash, SMART RINSE, WHITENING, ADVANCED, Fluoride Rinse, and Tartar Protection Products". Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  4. ^ J. Allergy Clin. Immunol.; VOL 64 ISS Jul 1979, P32-37, (REF 25)
  5. ^ FD&C Blue No. 1. Retrieved 16 November, 2013
  6. ^ E133
  7. ^ Peng, Weiguo; Maria L. Cotrinaa; Xiaoning Hana; Hongmei Yua; Lane Bekara; Livnat Bluma; Takahiro Takanoa; Guo-Feng Tiana; Steven A. Goldmanb; Maiken Nedergaard (July 28, 2009). "Systemic administration of an antagonist of the ATP-sensitive receptor P2X7 improves recovery after spinal cord injury". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106 (30): 12489–12493. doi:10.1073/pnas.0902531106. PMC 2718350. PMID 19666625. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 

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