The influence of synthetic food additives and surfactants on the body weight of larvae of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae)

Keywords: source materials, taste modifiers, food colourings, sweeteners, body weight, healthy diet


The broad spectrum of negative effects of food additives and surfactants on living organisms and the environment in general indicate a necessity of a detailed study on this issue. The aim of this article is to evaluate the impact of food additives and surfactants in a concentration of 350 mg/kg of fodder on the body weight of third age Tenebrio molitor Linnaeus, 1758 (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae) larvae. A significant change in the body weight of T. molitor larvae was observed when they consumed a diet containing 350 mg/kg of sodium glutamate, sodium cyclamate and sodium benzoate. We observed a tendency towards increase in body weight after addition of the food colouring Allura Red, saccharin, benzoic acid, betaine, emulsifying wax, AOS and SLES, and also we observed a decrease in body weight after addition of Tartrazine and Indigo Carmine in the same concentration. Out of the 18 tested food additives, 3 significantly stimulated an increase in the body weight of third age T. molitor larvae, and 3 manifested the same effect at the level of tendency (stimulated an increase in mass on average by 43–58% over the 14-day experiment), and 2 caused decrease in the body weight of larvae. Also, the 4 studied surfactants manifested a tendency towards increase in the body weight of T. molitor. This study on the impact of food additives and surfactants on organisms of insects is of great significance for protecting rare species of insects. 


Alirezaei, M., Jelobar, G., Niknam, P., Ghayemi, Z., & Nazifi, S. (2011). Betaine prevents ethanol-induced oxidative stress and reduces total homocysteine in the rat cerebellum. Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, 67(4), 605–612.

Althoff, J., Cardesa, A., Pour, P., & Shubik, P. (1975). A chronic study of artificial sweeteners in Syrian golden hamsters. Cancer Letters, 1, 21–24.

Amin, K. A., Hameidll, H. A., & Elsttar, A. H. (2010). Effect of food azo dyes tartrazine and carmoisine on biochemical parameters related to renal, hepatic function and oxidative stress biomarkers in young male rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 48(10), 2994–2999.

Ashida, H., Hashimoto, T., Tsuji, S., Kanazawa, K., & Danno, G. (2000). Synergistic effects of food colors on the toxicity of 3-amino-1,4-dimethyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole (Trp-P-1) in primary cultured rat hepatocytes. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 46(3), 130–136.

Bobyliov, Y. P., Brygadyrenko, V. V., Bulakhov, V. L., Gaichenko, V. A., Gasso, V. Y., Didukh, Y. P., Ivashov, A. V., Kucheriavyi, V. P., Maliovanyi, M. S., Mytsyk, L. P., Pakhomov, O. Y., Tsaryk, I. V., & Shabanov, D. A. (2014). Ekologija [Ecology]. Folio, Kharkiv. 672 p. (in Ukrainian).

Borzelleca, J. F., Olson, J. W., & Reno, F. E. (1989). Lifetime toxicity/carcinogenicity study of FD & C Red No. 40 (Allura Red) in Sprague-Dawley rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 27(11), 701–705.

Boyko, A. A., & Brygadyrenko, V. V. (2017). Changes in the viability of Strongyloides ransomi larvae (Nematoda, Rhabditida) under the influence of synthetic flavourings. Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems, 8(1), 36–40.

Brantom, P. G., Gaunt, I. F., & Grasso, P. (1973). Long-term toxicity of sodium cyclamate in mice. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 11(5), 735–746.

Brantom, P. G., Stevenson, B. I., & Wright, M. G. (1987). Long-term toxicity study of Ponceau 4R in rats using animals exposed in utero. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 25(12), 955–962.

Brygadyrenko, V. V., & Nazimov, S. S. (2014). Nutrition of Opatrum sabulosum (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae) when fed on leaves of trees, shrubs and liana plants in the conditions of a laboratory experiment. Baltic Journal of Coleopterology, 14, 59–72.

Brygadyrenko, V. V., & Nazimov, S. S. (2015). Trophic relations of Opatrum sabulosum (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae) with leaves of cultivated and uncultivated species of herbaceous plants under laboratory conditions. ZooKeys, 481, 57–68.

Chambers, P. L., Hunter, C. G., & Stevenson, D. E. (1966). Short-term study of Chocolate Brown HT in rats. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 4, 151–155.

Chen, X., Thompson, M. B., & Dickman, C. R. (2004). Energy density and its seasonal variation in desert beetles. Journal of Arid Environments, 56(3), 559–567.

Davis, K. J., Fitzhugh, O. G., & Nelson, A. A. (1964). Chronic rat and dog toxicity studies on tartrazine. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 6(5), 621–626.

Davis, K. J., Nelson, A. A., Zwickey, R. E., Hansen, W. H., & Fitzhugh, O. G. (1966). Chronic toxicity of Ponceau SX to rats, mice, and dogs. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 8(2), 306–317.

Drake, J. J.-P., Butterworth, K. R., Gaunt, I. F., & Hardy, J. (1978). Long-term toxicity studies of Chocolate Brown HT in mice. Toxicology, 10, 17–27.

El-Wahab, H. M. F., & Moram, G. S. E.-D. (2013). Toxic effects of some synthetic food colorants and/or flavor additives on male rats. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 29(2), 224–232.

Ershoff, B. H. (1972). Comparative effects of a purified diet and stock ration on Sodium Cyclamate toxicity in rats. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 141(3), 857–862.

Eweka, A. O., & Om'Iniabohs, F. A. E. (2011). Histological studies of the effects of monosodium glutamate on the kidney of adult Wistar rats. The Internet Journal of Health, 6(2), 37–43.

Farombi, E. O., & Onyema, O. O. (2006). Monosodium glutamate-induced oxidative damage and genotoxicity in the rat: Modulatory role of vitamin C, vitamin E and quercetin. Human and Experimental Toxicology, 25(5), 251–259.

Fitzhugh, O. G., & Nelson, A. A. (1948). Chronic oral toxicities of surface-active agents. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 37(1), 29–32.

Fitzhugh, O. G., Nelson, A. A., & Frawley, J. P. (1951). A comparison of the chronic toxicities of synthetic sweetening agents. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 40(11), 583–586.

Friedman, L., Richardson, H. L., Richardson, M. E., Lethco, E. J., Wallace, W. C., & Sauro, F. M. (1972). Toxic response of rats to Cyclamates in chow and semisynthetic diets. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 49(3), 751–764.

Gao, Y., Li, C., Shen, J., Yin, H., An, X., & Jin, H. (2011). Effect of food Azo Dye Tartrazine on learning and memory functions in mice and rats, and the possible mechanisms involved. Journal of Food Science, 76(6), 125–129.

Gaunt, I. F. (1969). Short-term toxicity study on sunset Yellow FCF in the miniature pig. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 7, 9–16.

Gaunt, I. F., Farmer, M., Graso, S., & Gandolli, S. D. (1967). Acute (rat and mouse) and short-term (rat) toxicity studies on Sunset Yellow FCF. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 5, 747–754.

Gaunt, I. F., Farmer, M., Grasso, P., & Gandolli, S. D. (1967). Acute (mouse and rat) and short-term (rat) toxicity studies on Ponceau 4R. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 5, 187–194.

Gaunt, I. F., Mason, P. L., Grasso, P., & Kiss, I. S. (1974). Long-term toxicity of Sunset Yellow FCF in mice. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 12(1), 1–9.

Hansen, W. H., Davis, K. J., Fitzhugh, O. G., & Nelson, A. A. (1963). Chronic oral toxicity of Ponceau 3R. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 5(1), 105–118.

Hashem, M. M., Atta, A. H., Arbid, M. S., Nada, S. A., & Asaad, G. F. (2010). Immunological studies on Amaranth, Sunset Yellow and Curcumin as food colouring agents in albino rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 48(6), 1581–1586.

Himri, I., Guaadaoui, A. H., Souna, F., Bouakka, M., Melhaoui, A., Hakkou, A., & Saalaoui, E. (2013). Toxicity testing of Tartrazine using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, brine shrimp larvae (Artemia salina) and KGN Granulosa Cell Line. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 3(11), 51–58.

Honma, M. (2015). Evaluation of the in vivo genotoxicity of Allura Red AC (Food Red No. 40). Food and Chemical Toxicology, 84, 270–275.

Hooson, J., Gaunt, I. F., Kiss, I. D., Grasso, P., & Butterworth, K. R. (1975). Long-term toxicity of indigo carmine in mice. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 13(2), 167–176.

Hunter, B., & Benson, H. G. (1976). Long-term toxicity of the surfactant α-olefin sulphonate (AOS) in the rat. Toxicology, 5(3), 359–370.

Kroes, R., & Kozianowski, G. (2002). Threshold of toxicological concern in food safety assessment. Toxicology Letters, 127, 43–46.

Luini, W., Mantovani, A., & Garattini, S. (1981). Effects of saccharin on pri mary humoral antibody production in rats. Toxicology Letters, 8, 1–6.

Maddrell, S. H. P., Gardiner, B. O. C., Pilcher, D. E. M., & Reynolds, S. E. (1974). Active transport by insect malpighian tubules of Acidic Dyes and of Acylamides. Journal of Experimental Biology, 61, 357–377.

Maekawa, A., Matsuoka, C., Onodera, H., Tanigawa, H., Furuta, K., Kanno, J., Jang, J. J., & Hayashi, Y. (1987). Lack of carcinogenicity of tartra zine (FD & C Yellow No. 5) in the F344 rat. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 25(12), 891–896.

Malik, V. B. T., & Ahluwalia, P. (1994). Studies on effect of monosodium glutamate (MSG) on various fractions of lipids and certain carbohydrate metabolic enzymes in liver and blood of adult male mice. Toxicology Letters, 74(1), 69–77.

Mannell, W. A., Grice, H. C., & Allmark, M. G. (1962). Chronic toxicity studies on food colours: V. Observations on the toxicity of Brilliant Blue FCF, Guinea Green B and Benzyl Violet 4B in rats. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 14(1), 378–384.

Mason, P. L., Gaunt, I. F., Butterworth, K. R., Hardy, J., Kiss, I. S., & Grasso, P. (1974). Long-term toxicity studies of carmoisine in mice. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 12, 601–607.

Medvedev, H. S. (1968). Zhuki-chernotelki (Tenebrionidae) [Darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae)]. Nauka, Moskow – Leningrad. 419 p. (in Russian).

Meyer, O., & Hansen, E. V. (1975). A study of the embryotoxicity of the food colour Ponceau 4R in rats. Toxicology, 5(2), 201–207.

Mohamed, A. A.-R., Galal, A. A. A., & Elewa, Y. H. A. (2015). Compara tive protective effects of royal jelly and cod liver oil against neurotoxic impact of tartrazine on male rat pups brain. Acta Histochemica, 117(7), 649–658.

Moutinho, I. L. D., Bertges, L. C., & Assis, R. V. C. (2007). Prolonged use of the food dye tartrazine and its effects on the gastric mucosa of Wistar rats. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 67(1), 141–145.

Munro, I. C., Moodie, C. A., Krewski, D., & Grice, H. C. (1975). A carcino genicity study of commercial saccharin in the rat. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 32(3), 513–526.

Mushahwar, I. K., & Koeppe, R. E. (1971). The toxicity of monosodium glutamate in young rats. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – General Subjects, 244(2), 318–321.

Nair, B. (1998). Final report on the safety assessment of Sodium Alpha-Olefin Sulfonates. International Journal of Toxicology, 17(1), 39–65.

Nair, B. (2001). Final report on the safety assessment of Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, and Sodium Benzoate. International Journal of Toxico logy, 20(3), 23–50.

Nazimov, S. S., & Brygadyrenko, V. V. (2013). Does saprophagy play a sig nificant role in nutrition of Opatrum sabulosum (Coleoptera, Tenebrio nidae)? Visnyk of Dnipropetrovsk University. Biology, Ecology, 21(1), 43–50.

O'Connor, J. E., Costell, M., & Grisolia, S. (1987). The potentiation of am monia toxicity by sodium benzoate is prevented by L-carnitine. Bioche mical and Biophysical Research Communications, 145(2), 817–824.

Olney, J. W. (1969). Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with Monosodium Glutamat. Science, 164, 719–721.

Oser, B. L., Carson, S., Cox, G. E., Vogin, E. E., & Sternberg, S. (1975). Chronic toxicity study of cyclamate: Saccharin (10:1) in rats. Toxico logy, 4(3), 385–386.

Patterson, R. M., & Butler, J. S. (1982). Tartrazine-induced chromosomal aber rations in mammalian cells. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 20(4), 461–465.

Phillips, J. C., Bex, C., Walters, D. G., & Gaunt, I. F. (1987). Metabolic dis position of 14C-labelled carmoisine in the rat, mouse and guinea-pig. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 25(12), 927–935.

Pszczolkowski, M. A, Matos, L. F., Zahand, A., & Brown, J. J. (2002). Effect of monosodium glutamate on apple leaf consumption by codling moth larvae. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 103(1), 91–98.

Pszczolkowski, M. A., & Brown, J. J. (2002). Prospects of monosodium glu tamate use for enhancement of spinosad toxicity against codling moth neonates. Phytoparasitica, 30(3), 243–252.

Pszczolkowski, M. A., & Brown, J. J. (2004). Enhancement of spinosad to xicity to Cydia pomonella neonates by Monosodium Glutamate receptor agonist. Phytoparasitica, 32, 342.

Ramakrishna, T., Vatsala, S., Shobi, V., Sreekumaran, E., Madhav, T. R., Ramesh, J., & Easwaran, K. R. K. (1998). Betaine reverses toxic effects of aluminium: Implications in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and AD-like pathology. Current Science, 75(11), 1153–1156.

Reyes, F. G. R., Valim, M. F. C. F. A., & Vercesi, A. E. (1996). Effect of or ganic synthetic food colours on mitochondrial respiration. Food Addi tives and Contaminants, 13(1), 5–11.

Roe, F. J. C., Levy, L. S., & Carter, R. L. (1970). Feeding studies on sodium cyclamate, saccharin and sucrose for carcinogenic and tumour-promo ting activity. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology, 8(2), 135–145.

Saxena, B., & Sharma, S. (2014). Serological changes induced by Blend of Sunset Yellow, Metanil Yellow and Tartrazine in swiss albino rat, Rattus norvegicus. Toxicology International, 21(1), 65–68.

Tak, J.-H., Kim, H.-K., Lee, S.-H., & Ahn, Y.-J. (2006). Acaricidal activities of paeonol and benzoic acid from Paeonia suffruticosa root bark and monoterpenoids against Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Acari: Acaridae). Pest Management Science, 62(2), 551–557.

Taylor, J. D., Richards, R. K., & Wiegand, R. G. (1968). Toxicological stu dies with sodium cyclamate and saccharin. Food and Cosmetics Toxico logy, 6(3), 313–327.

Taylor, J. M., Weinberger, M. A., & Friedman, L. (1980). Chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity to the urinary bladder of sodium saccharin in the in utero-exposed rat. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 54(1), 57–75.

Tsay, H. J., Wang, Y.-H., Chen, W.-L., Huang, M.-Y., & Chen, Y.-H. (2007). Treatment with sodium benzoate leads to malformation of zebrafish larvae. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 29(5), 562–569.

Vorhees, C. V., Butcher, R. E., Brunner, R. L., Wotten, V., & Sobotka, T. J. (1983). Developmental toxicity and psychotoxicity of FD and C red dye no. 40 (Allura red AC) in rats. Toxicology, 28(3), 207–217.

Zhang, X., Chen, S., Li, Z., & Xu, Y. (2017). Effect of sweeteners on the survival of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 110(2), 593–597.


Most read articles by the same author(s)

> >>