Impact of Synthetic Food Colouring Agents on Aquatic Ecosystems and Human Health

Divya Upadhyay

Amity Institute of Environmental Sciences, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Tanu Jindal

Amity Institute of Environmental Toxicology, Safety & Management, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Ashutosh Tripathi

Departmental of Environmental Science, Nagaland University, Lumami, India.

K. D. Joshi

ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Kartikeya Shukla *

Amity Institute of Environmental Sciences, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Colour is an important factor to enhance the consumer acceptance and appetizing value towards food and beverages. Foods are coloured with both natural and artificial/ synthetic food dyes. Instead of natural food colours, synthetic food colours are now widely employed by the food industry because of its superior features (cheap cost, enhanced look, greater colour intensity, increased colour stability, and consistency). Life of synthetic colorants is quite long as they are highly soluble in water and oil. Based on their solubility, synthetic colorants are classified into fat soluble synthetic colours, lake colours, water soluble synthetic colours. Colouring agents have spread across the water and soil ecosystem, this is because they are mass-produced and wider application. Samples of water, suspended particles, sediment, and wild fish have all tested positive for food dyes. As a result, they are regarded as micropollutants in aquatic systems. Cancers, mutations, neurotoxic effects, decreased haemoglobin concentrations, allergic reactions, food hypersensitivity, abdominal pain, worsened asthmatic symptoms, vomiting, and diarrhoea are just some of the potential dangers to one's health, which can result from using synthetic colours that aren't allowed or using them in excess. This review critically evaluates the effect of synthetic food colouring agents on aquatic environment and human health. We found that there is a definite unfavourable effect of synthetic organic additives on aquatic life and human health. Some synthetic colouring dyes have toxicological qualities and pharmacological action, thus it's important to keep an eye on water bodies. Synthetic organic food colour in water ecosystems may constitute a harmful effect on animals or human health’s, it is urgent need to evaluate the hazard potential of these substances. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that both consumers and manufacturers of food colours should be aware about the rules and regulations regarding food colours.



Keywords: Food colouring agents, toxic effects, human health, aquatic environment, health risk

How to Cite

Upadhyay , D., Jindal , T., Tripathi , A., Joshi , K. D., & Shukla , K. (2023). Impact of Synthetic Food Colouring Agents on Aquatic Ecosystems and Human Health. UTTAR PRADESH JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 44(13), 17–37.


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