Absence of subchronic oral toxicity and genotoxicity of rice koji withAspergillus terreus
Koji products have been considered as an effective fermented food consumed in East Asia with many health benefits. Particularly, rice koji with Aspergillus terreus (RAT) has been reported to be able to prevent hyperlipidemia and hepatic steatosis through regulating cholesterol synthesis. Despite its biological activities, there is a lack of comprehensive information to give an assurance of its safety. Therefore, the objective of this study was to perform a series of toxicological studies (repeated dose oral toxicity and genotoxicity) according to test guidelines published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Along with acute toxicity study using rats and beagle dogs, a 13-week toxicity study revealed no clear RAT-related toxic changes, including body weight, mortality, hematology, serum biochemistry, organ weight, and histopathology after oral administration at doses of 500, 1000, and 2000 mg/kg BW. The no-observed-adverse-effect level of RAT was considered to be more than 2000 mg/kg BW/day in rats of both genders. In addition, potential genotoxicity was evaluated using a standard battery of tests (Ames test, chromosome aberration assay, and micronucleus assay) which revealed that RAT showed no genotoxicity. Accordingly, these results suggest that RAT is a safe and non-toxic functional food for human consumption at proper dose.