Mutagenic and Antimutagenic Compounds in Beverages
Traditional beverages such as coffee, tea, wine, and beer have been prepared and consumed by mankind for centuries. Of special concern was the possible existence of compounds in the final beverage which may cause DNA damage. Some classes of compounds induced mutagenic effects in a variety of in vitro mutagenicity test systems ranging from microorganisms to mammalian cells in culture. Many even showed antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects, especially in the case of constituents with antioxidant properties. Coffee was shown to cause a relatively weak mutagenic effect per se in the Ames bacterial mutagenicity test and also in some in vitro mammalian test systems. Of the methylxanthines, caffeine is predominantly present in green and roasted coffee and its content varies according to the type of coffee. Phenolic acids, in particular chlorogenic acid and its derivatives are present in soluble coffee powder. The major inhibitory factors might be attributed to the phenolic compounds and possibly to some extent to caffeine.