The abuse of artificial food dyes and the evidence that they harm human health recently prompted a significant effort to introduce vegan substitutes prepared from fruits and vegetables. Not much information, however, has been collected on their possible effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems once released as waste in surface waters. For this purpose, we analyzed the effects of a vegan red (VEG) preparation (concentration 1.2 g/L) on three rapidly proliferating models for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem contamination. In particular, in vitro cells cultures (exposure for 24 h), Artemia salina nauplii and Cucumis sativus seedlings (exposure 5 days). A comparison was made with the effects exerted by the two dyes that vegan red is intended to replace: an animal dye, cochineal E120 and an artificial dye E124. The analyses of conventional endpoints, indicative of cell proliferation, differentiation, and growth rate, demonstrate that the three dyes affect development and that the vegan substitute is as unsafe as the E124 and E120. Vegan red in fact impairs cell growth in in vitro cells, delays naupliar hatching and early growth in Artemia, and reduces shoot/root biomass in Cucumis. Marked hyperplasia and hypertrophy of mesophyll are also observed in Cucumis leaves. Substitution in food and beverages, therefore, should be carefully reconsidered to avoid unnecessary environmental contamination.

Comparative Toxicity of Vegan Red, E124, and E120 Food Dyes on Three Rapidly Proliferating Model Systems

Palma Simoniello
;
Gaetana Napolitano;
2022

Abstract

The abuse of artificial food dyes and the evidence that they harm human health recently prompted a significant effort to introduce vegan substitutes prepared from fruits and vegetables. Not much information, however, has been collected on their possible effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems once released as waste in surface waters. For this purpose, we analyzed the effects of a vegan red (VEG) preparation (concentration 1.2 g/L) on three rapidly proliferating models for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem contamination. In particular, in vitro cells cultures (exposure for 24 h), Artemia salina nauplii and Cucumis sativus seedlings (exposure 5 days). A comparison was made with the effects exerted by the two dyes that vegan red is intended to replace: an animal dye, cochineal E120 and an artificial dye E124. The analyses of conventional endpoints, indicative of cell proliferation, differentiation, and growth rate, demonstrate that the three dyes affect development and that the vegan substitute is as unsafe as the E124 and E120. Vegan red in fact impairs cell growth in in vitro cells, delays naupliar hatching and early growth in Artemia, and reduces shoot/root biomass in Cucumis. Marked hyperplasia and hypertrophy of mesophyll are also observed in Cucumis leaves. Substitution in food and beverages, therefore, should be carefully reconsidered to avoid unnecessary environmental contamination.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11367/107256
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