African Journal of Biotechnology

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The mutagenic potentials of potassium bromate and some commonly used food additives

A Akintonwa, O Awodele, PM Emeka, O Osajare


Food additives are substances added to preserve flavour or improve the taste and appearance of food. The continuous consumption of these food additives could be hazardous to human health. Food additives including sodium bicarbonate, sodium benzoate, ammonium bicarbonate and potassium bromate were subjected to the Ames Spot Forward Mutation Assay using Escherichia coli. The mutant strains of the organism were examined in the presence or absence of rat liver metabolizing enzymes. The result showed that sodium bicarbonate, sodium benzoate and ammonium bicarbonate produced no mutant strain of the organism and no alteration in the phenotypic characteristics of the organism as compared with potassium bromate and the standard mutagen – ethidium bromide, which produced mutant strains of the organism and altered the phenotypic characteristics of the organism. This revealed that potassium bromate is mutagenic in bacteria and could be said to possess carcinogenic potentials.

AJOL African Journals Online