Design and Synthesis of Haptens for Tartrazine

Creative Biolabs is focused on providing rapid and effective solutions in hapten design and synthesis for small molecules. We pride ourselves on our professional team of antibody discovery and hapten studies. In our services, you can rely on professional project management and advanced technologies to help the success of your projects. We can provide you with a comprehensive solution package to guide your projects from the tartrazine hapten design to antibody commercialization.

Introduction to Tartrazine

Tartrazine, a lemon yellow azo dye, has been broadly used as a food additive in many food products, such as bread, puddings, and cotton candy. However, pilot studies have demonstrated that tartrazine can cause a series of severe adverse reactions, including urticaria, angioedema, asthma, as well as atopic dermatitis. Moreover, some reports have also revealed that it can be converted to aromatic amino sulfonic acid, which has shown high mutagenesis and carcinogenesis in several animal models. As a result, the content of tartrazine in food products should be seriously controlled, which also increases the requirement for developing rapid, simple, and accurate detection assays for tartrazine. Currently, a wide variety of antibody-based immunoassays, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), have been generated for the detection of tartrazine. More importantly, a group of tartrazine analogs and tartrazine derivatives have been designed and synthesized as haptens to produce small-molecule antibodies targeting tartrazine in these assays.

Synthesis of tartrazine hapten 1 (Tar1). Fig.1 Synthesis of tartrazine hapten 1 (Tar1). (Li, 2013)

Design and Synthesis of Haptens for Tartrazine

Tartrazine, also known as FD&C yellow #5, is an azo pigment that has been utilized as a food colorant in food industries and scientific industrial applications. Many studies have indicated that long-term exposure and excessive consumption of tartrazine can cause a threat to human health. Furthermore, due to the potential toxicity of tartrazine, it is crucial to develop a battery of analytical methods for the determination of tartrazine in various food samples.

Nowadays, Creative Biolabs has developed criteria protocols to design and synthesize tartrazine haptens. Equipped with state-of-art technologies, we are capable of designing the hapten for tartrazine or its residues and providing suitable hapten synthesis routes for our clients. In a recent study, four carboxylated analogs and derivatives of tartrazine have been synthesized as haptens to produce small-molecule antibodies. The results have suggested that this antibody can exhibit an IC50 value of 0.2 ng/mL and has shown no cross-reactivity with other dyes of similar structures. Additionally, we also offer custom tartrazine hapten optimization services to enhance the ability to induce immune responses. The effect of sulfonic acid groups, spacer lengths, and chemical modifications on novel haptens will be further assessed to help obtain the tartrazine antibody with the highest specificity.

Inhibition curves of polyclonal antibodies from mice by icELISA. Fig.2 Inhibition curves of polyclonal antibodies from mice by icELISA. (Li, 2013)

Creative Biolabs is a leading service provider that focuses on hapten design for years. By combining cutting edge technologies with proprietary innovations, scientists at our labs provide a full range of novel hapten development services based on diverse food colorants. We are committed to bringing deep domain expertise to assist our clients in achieving their strategic and operational objectives. For more information, please feel free to contact us or send us an inquiry.


  1. Li, Z.; et al. Development of an ultrasensitive immunoassay for detecting tartrazine. Sensors. 2013, 13(7), 8155-8169.
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