The impact of Red 40 artificial food dye on the heart rate of Daphnia magna

(1) Oswego East High School, Oswego, Illinois
Cover photo for The impact of Red 40 artificial food dye on the heart rate of <em>Daphnia magna</em>

Due to its relatively new appearance in foods, not many studies have been conducted on the effects of Red 40 food dye, therefore one aspect of its effects on the body should be explored. Red 40 is a chemical present in thousands of consumer products that poses potential health risks with one’s heart rate and hemoglobin functioning. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Red 40 food dye on the cardiac activity of Daphnia magna, a 2 mm long freshwater crustacean. We hypothesized that a higher concentration of Red 40 dye would result in an increased heart rate and activity in the Daphnia magna because of a need for increased oxygen intake, due to Red 40’s impact on hemoglobin molecules. D. magna were placed into Petri dishes containing Red 40 solutions ranging from 0% to 5% concentrations for five minutes. At the five-minute mark, the specimens were transferred to a glass slide and placed under a microscope to record their heart rates. The recorded video was slowed down to count the heart rate of each specimen, and the data was recorded. The results showed that as the concentration of the Red 40 solution increased, so did the heart rate and activity level of the specimen. We noticed the D. magna becoming more active and sporadic when concentrations increased as well.

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