Quantification of heterocyclic amines from thermally processed meats selected from a small-scale population-based study

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Heterocyclic amines (HAs) are potent mutagens that form at high temperatures in cooked, proteinrich food. Due to their frequent intake, these compounds are considered a risk factor for human cancer. Cooking conditions and eating habits strongly influence the level of HA exposure. Thus, it is difficult to assess the intake of HAs in a large population. Food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs), designed to provide data on parameters that affect HA formation, were used to survey a small population (459 persons) from Barcelona (NE Spain). Subsequently, the most-consumed food items named were cooked according to the preferences of the population surveyed and analyzed for HAs using SPE and LC-MS/MS. In the population studied, the estimated intake via consumption of 13 meat dishes was 285.6 ng of mutagenic HAs per capita and day. PhIP (2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[ 4,5-b]pyridine) was the HA to which the population was most exposed, mainly from fried chicken and griddled beef. When the co-mutagens norharman and harman are included, the mean daily intake of HAs rises to 475.6 ng per capita and day. A novel putative DMIP regioisomer was detected in the cooked meats, which was analyzed in the present study by multistage MS.

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