Mutagen Precursors in Food
Jagerstad et al. suggested in 1983 that creatine, amino acids, and sugars derived from muscle are important precursors in the production of the amino-imidazo mutagens found in cooked meats. When high levels of mutagenic activity were first discovered in cooked meats, experiments were undertaken to determine the parameters for the mutagen-forming reactions. The heating temperature was shown to be important because an increase in temperature has a marked positive effect on total mutagen production in foods. Mutagen formation is dependent on a fraction containing precursors of less than 500 molecular weight in the supernatant. Achieving the temperatures necessary for mutagen production with aqueous systems requires the use of a high-temperature boiling solvent and many laboratories have used diethylene glycol and water mixtures. In mutagen modeling systems glucose and fructose have been shown to be necessary for mutagen production in aqueous-ethylene glycol refluxing experiments.