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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Past, present, and future of mutagens in cooked foods.

Mutation assay with Salmonella typhimurium enabled us to detect various types of mutagens in cooked foods. A series of mutagenic heterocyclic amines has been isolated and identified in broiled fish and meat and in pyrolyzates of amino acids and proteins. Feeding experiments showed these mutagens to be carcinogenic in mice and rats. The mechanism of formation and pathway of metabolic activation of these heterocyclic amines have been elucidated. Their contents in various cooked foods have been determined. The presence of mutagenic nitropyrenes (some of which were confirmed as carcinogens) in grilled chicken was also established. Roasted coffee beans also yield mutagens such as methylglyoxal. The formation of mutagen precursors, including beta-carboline derivatives and tyramine which become mutagens with nitrite treatment, was found during food processing. Oncogene activation in animal tumors induced by some of these food mutagens/carcinogens has been confirmed. The role of mutagens/carcinogens in cooked foods in human cancer development has not yet been exactly evaluated. In order to do this, more information on their carcinogenic potency, human intake, metabolism in the human body, and the effects of combined administration with other initiators, promoters and other modifying factors in food is required.[1]


  1. Past, present, and future of mutagens in cooked foods. Sugimura, T. Environ. Health Perspect. (1986) [Pubmed]
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