As a basis for the development of a sensitive analytical method for the determination of carmine food dye, a study of the differential pulse polarographic reduction of carminic acid (CA) on a dropping mercury electrode was performed. For the analytical differential pulse polarographic method running at pH 2.0 Britton-Robinson (B-R) buffer solution (peak at -489 mV), the relationship between the peak current and CA concentration was linear in the range of 1 μM to 90 μM with a detection limit of 0.16 μM. The proposed electrochemical procedure was successfully applied to the determination of carmine food dye in spiked commercially available strawberry flavored milk. The method was extended to the determination of CA in candy and results were in agreement with that obtained by a spectrophotometric comparison method. A cyclic voltammogram of CA in 2.0 B-R buffer electrolyte was obtained on the dropping mercury electrode at pH 2.0 during potential scans from 0.00 mV to 1000 mV versus Ag/AgCl. From repetitive cyclic voltammograms, one cathodic peak at -500 mV and three anodic peaks on the reverse scan between approximately -340 mV and -460 mV were recorded. The influences of some other commonly found inorganic and organic salts on the determination of CA were also examined. The sufficiently good recoveries and low standard deviations for the data reflect the high accuracy and precision of the proposed differential pulse polarographic method. © 2014, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan.

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