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Quinoline exists as a colorless liquid with a strong odor when a threshold of 0.015-71ppm is reached. It does display some photosensitivity, turning brown when exposed to light. Quinoline has many uses. It is used as a solvent, preservative, flavoring agent in medicine, and as a colorant in dyes and paints. Quinoline also a component of some fungicides. Chemically, quinoline is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound with the formula C9H7N, which is slightly soluble in cold water but readily soluble in hot water and most organic solvents. The primary health risk of quinoline is carcinogenicity. Various studies have demonstrated that ingestion of quinoline through the oral or inhalation routes can lead to the development of tumors depending on the concentration of exposure and the duration of exposure. Acute toxicity tends to be characterized by irritation of the airways, the gastrointestinal system, and the eyes. The liver appears to be particularly sensitive to the in vivo effects of quinoline. Because of the high solubility in water, the ability of quinoline to move through the ecosystem contaminating multiple areas is a major concern. Fortunately, certain microorganisms can exist in inhospitable environments and have adapted to possess the ability to degrade quinoline. This mechanism of detoxification reduces the risk of major quinoline contamination in areas surrounding processing plants. In addition, the relative instability of quinoline in the environment results in its rapid spontaneous degradation. Factors that affect this degradation include temperature of the water/soil, presence of metabolizing bacteria, pH, and water depth. Quinoline which is released into the air can undergo photolysis due to exposure to sunlight.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Toxicology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9780123864543
ISBN (Print)9780123864550
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Carcinogen
  • Coal tar
  • Colorant
  • Fungicide


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