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Chemicals >> Stains & Indicators >> Congo Red


Congo Red

Congo RedCongo red (C32H22N6Na2O6S2) is the sodium salt of benzidinediazo-bis-1-naphtylamine-4-sulfonic acid.  It is a secondary diazo dye. Congo red is water soluble, yielding a red colloidal solution; its solubility is better in organic solvents such as ethanol.

It has a strong, though apparently non-covalent affinity to cellulose fibres. However, the use of congo red in the cellulose industries (cotton textile, wood pulp & paper) has long been abandoned, mainly because of its toxicity.

Due to a color change from blue to red at pH 3.0-5.2, congo red can be used as a pH indicator. Since this color change is an approximate inverse of that of litmus, it can be used with litmus paper in a simple parlor trick: add a drop or two of congo red to both an acid solution and a base solution. Dipping red litmus paper in the red solution will turn it blue, while dipping blue litmus paper in the blue solution will turn it red.

Congo red has a propensity to aggregate in aqueous and organic solutions. The proposed mechanisms suggest hydrophobic interactions between the aromatic rings of the dye molecules, leading to a pi-pi stacking phenomenon. Although these aggregates are present under various sizes and shapes, the "ribbon-like micelles" of a few molecules seem to be the predominant form (even if the "micelle" term is not totally appropriate here). This aggregation phenomenon is more important for high congo red concentrations, at high salinity and/or low pH.

Description Price SelectQuantity
Congo Red 1% aqueous solution - 100ml bottle $ 6.90
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Niles Biological, Inc.
9298 Elder Creek Road
Sacramento, CA 95829
(916) 386-2665