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  • Author: Konrad Pietruk x
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Electrochemical reduction of azo dyes mimicking their biotransformation to more toxic products



Some azo dyes, including Sudans I–IV and Para Red, are genotoxic and may be biotransformed to cancerogenic aromatic amines. They are banned as food and feed additives, but their presence has been detected in food. Aromatic amines are also considered potentially toxic. Online EC–MS is a promising tool to study the transformation mechanisms of xenobiotics such as azo dyes. The aim of the study was to investigate emulation of how azo dyes are enzymatically transformed to amines with EC–MS.

Material and Methods

The reduction reactions of five azo dyes (Sudans I–IV and Para Red) were conducted using a glassy carbon working electrode and 0.1% formic acid in acetonitrile. Reduction results were compared with the literature and in silico to select preliminary candidates for metabolites. The LC-MS/MS method was used to confirm results obtained by electrochemical reactor.


A limited number of pre-selected compounds were confirmed as azo dyes metabolites – aniline for Sudan I, aniline and 4-aminoazobenzene for Sudan III, o-toluidine for Sudan IV, and 4-nitroaniline for Para Red. No metabolites were found for Sudan II.


Electrochemistry–mass spectrometry was successfully applied to azo dyes. This approach may be used to mimic the metabolism of azo dyes, and therefore predict products of biotransformation.

Open access
Simultaneous determination of ten illegal azo dyes in feed by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry


Introduction: The paper presents the method of simultaneous determination of 10 illegal azo dyes in feed by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry technique. Material and Methods: The dyes were extracted with hexane, evaporated to dryness, and analysed. Separation was achieved in 7 min in a gradient elution using acetonitrile (A) and 0.1% formic acid (B) as a mobile phase. Results: The validation results showed the repeatability of the method, which was evaluated at three levels (50, 500, and 5,000 μg/kg). All the matrix calibration curves for the working ranges were linear (R2 0.9904 to 1.0), the repeatability was between 2.1% and 24%, and recoveries ranged from 77.9% to 120%. The LOD and LOQ were at 1-2 and 5-10 μg/kg for different dyes, respectively. Furthermore, the method was applied in the homogeneity tests of the in-house prepared feed containing Sudan I at the levels of 0.5, 5, and 50 mg/kg. Conclusions: A sensitive, selective, and fast multiresidue method was successfully developed and validated. Its robustness was confirmed by the analysis of an experimental feed containing Sudan I.

Open access