A simple spectrophotometric method is described for resolving binary mixtures of some food dyes: Amaranth, Brilliant Blue, Sunset Yellow and Tartrazine, using the first-derivative spectra with measurements at zero-crossing wavelengths. Analytical curves are linear up to 20 mg L-1. Standard deviations of 1.30, 2.22, 1.93 and 0.81% were obtained for synthetic binary mixtures of 2 mg L-1 of Amaranth, Brilliant Blue, Sunset Yellow and Tartrazine, respectively. Before the spectrophotometric measurements, the dyes were sorbed onto polyurethane foam and recovered in sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate solution. Therefore, matrix complexity was eliminated and simple spectra were obtained. The method was very satisfactorily used for determining the colorants in synthetic mixtures, with recoveries in the 96 - 101% range. Detection limit values were dependent on the colorant combination investigated. Commercial products containing binary combinations of these dyes in different ratios (from 1:1 to 1:8) were analyzed. The results were compared with those obtained by HPLC; very similar values were found by the two methods.
2005 by The Japan Society for Analytical Chemistry