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Mutat Res. 1990 Aug;241(4):349-54.

Evaluation of the mutagenicity of 'pan masala', a chewing substitute widely used in India.

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  • 1Genotoxicity Unit, Tata Memorial Centre, Bombay, India.


Mutagenicity of polar and non-polar extracts of a popular brand of 'pan masala' was examined using the Salmonella/mammalian microsome test (Ames assay) and 2 tester strains of Salmonella typhimurium, TA98 and TA100. These extracts were also subjected to pretreatment with sodium nitrite at acidic pH, to simulate conditions for endogenous nitrosation. The aqueous, aqueous:ethanolic and chloroform extracts as well as their nitrosated mixtures were non-mutagenic in the Ames assay, in the presence and absence of metabolic activation. Only the ethanolic extract elicited a weak mutagenic response in strain TA98 without metabolic activation demonstrating the presence of direct-acting frameshift mutagens in 'pan masala'.

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