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Kolev, T. M., Velcheva, E. A., Stamboliyska, B. A., and Spiteller, M., “DFT and Experimental Studies of the Structure and Vibrational Spectra of Curcumin,” International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, 102, 1069-1079, Jan. 2005.

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Spectroscopic Studies of Food Colorings

1Didactics of Chemistry, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, 97074 Würzburg, Germany

World Journal of Chemical Education. 2019, Vol. 7 No. 2, 136-144
DOI: 10.12691/wjce-7-2-13
Copyright © 2019 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Patrick Gräb, Ekkehard Geidel. Spectroscopic Studies of Food Colorings. World Journal of Chemical Education. 2019; 7(2):136-144. doi: 10.12691/wjce-7-2-13.

Correspondence to: Patrick  Gräb, Didactics of Chemistry, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, 97074 Würzburg, Germany. Email:


In chemical education, it is often a challenge to understand the basic principles of spectroscopic techniques due to missing connections to the real world. Therefore, the present contribution offers context-based applications of UV/Vis spectroscopy for analytics of food colorings with which learners can improve their skills regarding this method. The spectroscopic determination of food colorings seems to be a promising approach due to the long tradition and omnipresence of dyes in supermarket products. The therefor-required spectral data for commonly used dyes are provided for educational usage. Qualitative and quantitative analytics of food colorings in four different lemonades and chocolate beans have been used to introduce learners to important analytical techniques like sample preparation or elimination of confounding factors. These analytics also display the limitations of the method in the visible range of light in the case of tartrazine and curcumin. By applying Lambert-Beer-Bouguer’s Law in different variations, typical calculations of concentrations can be studied in quantitative analyses. The studied food samples demonstrate the different usage of food colorings depending on the country of sale. Finally, a 3D-printable low-cost photometer suitable for the discussed quantitative analytics in educational contexts is presented.