Comparing Food Black Colorants: Cuttlefish ink extract, Bright Black E151, and Vegetable Carbon E153

Tuesday April 16, 2024

In the realm of gastronomy, where presentation is as crucial as taste, a new trend has emerged, captivating food enthusiasts and chefs alike: the rise of black foods.Today we analyze three black pigments used in food coloring:Cuttlefish ink extract, Bright Black E151, and Vegetable Carbon E153.

Cuttlefish ink extract

Cephalopod ink is a mixture of the co-secretions from the ink sac and funnel organ.[1] Melanin has received by far the most attention, undoubtedly because it provides the distinctive black color of cephalopod ink, is a major component of ink Each ink sac of Sepia has ~1 g of melanin [4], and melanin constitutes ~15% of the total wet weight of ink [5]. Proteins make up another 5%–8% of the weight of Sepia ink [6].

Brilliant Black PN E 151

Brilliant black is a bis-azo dye that occurs as black powder or granules. It consists of tetrasodium salt of 4-acetamido-5-hydroxy-6-([7-sulfonato-4-[((4-sulfonatophenyl)diazenyl]naphthalen-1-yl)diazenyl)naphthalene-1,7-disulfonate and subsidiary coloring matters together with sodium chloride and/or sodium sulfate as the principal uncolored components. Brilliant black PN may be converted to the corresponding aluminum lake.[2]

Vegetable Black E 153

Vegetable carbon is produced by the carbonization of vegetable materials such as wood, cellulose residues, peat and coconut and other shells. The raw material is carbonized at high temperatures and consists essentially of finely divided carbon.[3]

Is cuttlefish ink safe to eat?

There is a long history of using cephalopod ink as medicine and food. Mostly health benefits have been ascribed to cephalopod ink as a traditional medicine, both in Western culture (ancient Greece and Rome) and Eastern culture (China) [7]. Recent medical research proposed that cephalopod ink is a multifunctional bioactive marine drug and has the functions of antitumor, antioxidant, and anti-coagulant activities, as well as the capability to protection against testicular damage. Also, ink extract at the suitable concentrations can alleviate the immune response induced by cyclophosphamides in mice. Zhong et al. [8] 

Applications of Cuttlefish Ink Extract in Culinary Delights

Cuttlefish ink extract finds its way into various culinary delights. From classic pasta and risotto to seafood creations, sauces, bread, and pastries,  Whether in tapas or avant-garde gastronomic creations, cuttlefish ink extract elevates each dish, leaving a lasting impression on food enthusiasts worldwide.

Binmei Cuttlefish ink extract VS other companies

Binmei Cuttlefish ink extract adopts efficient deodorization technology and physical extraction techniques. Chemical additives are not used in the production process. Cuttlefish ink extract, as a coloring food, can be added without limitations. Cuttlefish ink extract from Binmei Biotechnology is offered in two convenient forms: powder and liquid, both devoid of any fishy odor. The powder variant is ideal for use in food industry manufacturing, while the liquid option caters to cake, bubble tea shops, and culinary enthusiasts seeking to explore their gastronomic creativity.

[1]Derby CD. Cephalopod ink: production, chemistry, functions and applications. Mar. Drugs. 2014;12(5):2700–2730. doi: 10.3390/md12052700. 

[2]IACM Physical Description

[3] IACM Physical Description

[4]Prota G., Ortonne J.P., Voulot C., Khatchadourian C., Mardi G., Palumbo A. Occurrence and properties of tyrosinase in the ejected ink of cephalopods. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. B. 1981;68:415–419. 

[5]Wang F.R., Xie Z.G., Ye X.Q., Deng S.G., Hu Y.Q., Guo X., Chen S.G. Effectiveness of treatment of iron deficiency anemia in rats with squid ink melanin-Fe. Food Funct. 2014;5:123–128. doi: 10.1039/c3fo60383k.

[6]Prota G. Melanins, melanogenesis and melanocytes: Looking at their functional significance from a chemist’s viewpoint. Pigment. Cell Res. 2000;13:283–293.

[7]Derby CD. Cephalopod ink: production, chemistry, functions and applications. Mar. Drugs. 2014;12(5):2700–2730. doi: 10.3390/md12052700. 

[8]Zhong JP, Wang G, Shang JH, Pan JQ, Li K, Huang Y, Liu HZ. Protective effects of squid ink extract towards hemopoietic injuries induced by cyclophosphamine. Mar. Drugs. 2009;7(1):9–18. doi: 10.3390/md7010009.

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