What’s Anthraquinone?

Print anything with Printful

Anthraquinone is a natural compound found in plants, fungi, and insects, used commercially to make dyes and as a catalyst in pulp and paper production. It is also a bird repellent and laxative. However, it has health and environmental risks, including being a confirmed carcinogen and toxic to fish. It is highly flammable and requires protective gear when handling.

Anthraquinone is an aromatic organic compound that occurs naturally in some plants, fungi and insects. Because it contributes the coloring pigment of such organisms, the compound is used commercially to make dyes. In powder form, anthraquinone varies in color from gray to yellow and green. However, it produces a variety of different dyes, including alizarin (red), petroleum blue A and petroleum blue 35, quinizarin green SS, and solvent violet 13.

This compound can also be produced mechanically by oxidizing anthracene with chromic acid, or by reducing benzene and phthalic anhydride. The latter method requires hydration before the mixture can be considered as anthraquinone.

Anthraquinone is known by many other names, such as anthraquinone, dioxoanthracene, and several trade names, including Hoelite and Corbit. It is a derivative of anthracene, a byproduct of coal tar characterized by a chemical structure consisting of a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and three fused rings of benzene.

There are other commercial applications for anthraquinone besides the production of dyes. For example, it is used as a catalyst in the production of pulp and paper. A derivative called 2-ethylanthraquinone is used to make hydrogen peroxide. Anthraquinone has a long history of use as a bird repellent and is used to deter the presence of geese in particular. This action may be due to the laxative properties the compound possesses when introduced as treated birdseed or grass. Its presence, in fact, is what gives laxative qualities to several well-known herbs used to treat constipation, such as senna pods, aloe, rhubarb, sea buckthorn and cascara sagrada.

There are a number of environmental and health problems associated with anthraquinone. For one thing, its use as a laxative has been linked to a benign but undesirable condition known as melanosis coli, characterized by a discoloration of the colon wall.

Two-year studies conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) using animal models indicate that anthraquinone is a liver carcinogen when ingested. These tests also produced evidence that this compound can cause non-cancerous lesions or tumors to appear on various organs. Additionally, research conducted by NTP suggests that it may be an endocrine disruptor. As a result of NTP’s findings, the California Environmental Protection Agency has included anthraquinone in its list of confirmed carcinogens.

Anthraquinone also presents some safety challenges for the manufacturing industry. For example, the substance is highly flammable and cannot be used near open flames or extreme heat as the compound produces toxic fumes when burned. It is also recommended that workers handling anthraquinone wear a P1 filter respirator to avoid inhalation of inert particles, as well as protective gloves and goggles. Environmentally, the compound is toxic to fish and does not biodegrade easily.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content