Effects of Tartrazine on Drosophila melanogaster Anxiety and Depression Behaviors
Tartrazine is a yellow-tinged chemical that is used to dye food, fabric, drugs, and cosmetics yellow in the United States. Previous research has found a connection between tartrazine-rich diets and anxiety and depressive behaviors in both mice and children (El-Nabarawy et al., 2015; Kemel & El-Lethey, 2011; Rowe & Rowe, 1994). The goal of this study was to examine the effects of a tartrazine-rich larval diet on anxiety and depressive behaviors in the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We hypothesized that a tartrazine-rich diet would produce more anxiety and depression-related behaviors in adult Drosophila when compared to control flies not exposed to tartrazine. To test our hypothesis, an experimental group of flies was given a 3% tartrazine solution in their feeding media while the control group was given distilled water. After one to two generations, RING assays and wall-following assays were used to measure depression and anxiety behaviors, respectively. The results of the RING assay showed that the control and tartrazine-exposed flies climbed at the same rate, indicating that tartrazine did not affect depressive behaviors. Similarly, the control and tartrazine-treated groups spent the same amount of time within the outer zone during the wall following assay, suggesting that both groups were equally as anxious. Taken together, these findings suggest that tartrazine does not affect anxiety and depression-related behaviors in the common fruit fly.