Influence of creatine, amino acids and water on the formation of the mutagenic heterocyclic amines found in cooked meat

Eva Övervik, Marika Kleman, Ingrid Berg, Jan Åke Gustafsson

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119 Scopus citations


Creatine or one of 15 amino acids were mixed with minced pork before broiling at 200°C. Total mutagenic activity and reversed-phase HPLC-separated mutagenicity profiles were determined for the crust and pan residue of all samples and also in the aerosol fraction of the smoke formed during cooking of the creatine-fortified samples. Addition of 5% (w/w) creatine increased the total mutagenicity 4-fold without changing the mutagenicity profile of either crust, pan residue or aerosol. Amino acid addition (1% w/w) increased the total mutagenicity between 1.5 (lysine) and 43 times (threonine). In most cases the mutagenicity profiles of crust and pan residues were changed by amino acid addition. Dry-heated mixtures of amino acids and creatine were all mutagenic with a 250-fold range between the amino acids. The production of known food mutagens in these mixtures was analyzed by LC-MS of HPLC-fractionated mutagenic peaks. Serine, threonine, phenylalanine, alanine, leucine and tyrosine were all shown to give rise to one of the known food mutagens 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) or 2-amino-trimethylimidazopyridine (TMIP). Lyophilized and subsequently fried meat patties and a heated powder of lyophilized meat juice were both mutagenic, with mutagenicity profiles similar to the regular meat crust, showing that water is not a prerequisite for mutagen formation in meat. MeIQx, 2-amino-3,4,8-trimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (4,8-di-MeIQx) and PhIP were shown, by LC-MS, to be present in the dry-heated meat juice. It is concluded that creatine and free amino acids are the main reactants of the mutagen-forming reactions that occur during frying of meat. Creatine is probably a necessary part of all of these reactions; what specific compounds are formed in each case therefore depends upon the levels in the meat of certain free amino acids and their interactions with other, as yet unknown, compounds in the meat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2293-2301
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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