Potential use of food synthetic colors as intrinsic luminescent probes of the physical state of foods

Ariella Kashi, Sarah M. Waxman, Jennifer S. Komaiko, Andrew Draganski, Maria G. Corradini, Richard D. Ludescher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Several synthetic food colors, such as azorubine, exhibit presumptive molecular rotor behavior. They consist of two parts that can easily rotate relative to each other and their photoexcitation generates an excited singlet state that can deactivate through a) a non-radiative decay process that involves internal conversion to the ground state through rotation or b) a radiative decay process that results in emission of a photon. Any environmental restriction to twisting in the excited state, e.g., high viscosity, can have a dramatic effect on the emission intensity of these fluorophores. The sensitivity of azorubine's photophysical properties to the concentration and temperature-dependent viscosity of model systems (glycerol, glycerol-water, sucrose-water, hydrocolloid-water solutions) was investigated. The molecular mass of the thickening agent affected the photophysical response of the dye, with lesser probe sensitivity found with the larger hydrocolloids; fluorescence studies of pyranine hydration suggest these differences were due to local effects of solute crowding. Advantages and limitations of using food colors as intrinsic luminescent sensors of physical properties related to food quality are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Chemical Sensory Informatics of Food
Subtitle of host publicationMeasurement, Analysis, Integration
EditorsBrian Guthrie, Jonathan Beauchamp, Andrea Buettner, Barry K. Lavine
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780841230699
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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