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Food Chem Toxicol. 2006 Jan;44(1):138-45. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

A subchronic toxicity study of dunaliella carotene in F344 rats.

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  • 1Division of Pathology, National Institute of Health Sciences, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Dunaliella carotene, extracted from dunaliella alga (Dunaliella bardawil or Dunaliella salina), for use as a food-coloring agent, has beta-carotene as its mainly constituent. As there have been no reports of toxicological evaluation, a 90-day subchronic toxicity study was here performed in F344 rats at dose levels of 0 (control), 0.63%, 1.25%, 2.5% and 5% in powdered basal diet. The average daily intakes of dunaliella carotene were 352, 696, 1420 and 2750 mg/kg/day, respectively, for males, and 370, 748, 1444 and 2879 mg/kg/day for females. No mortality or treatment-related clinical signs were observed throughout the experimental period in any of the groups. Body weight gain was slightly but significantly (p < 0.05) reduced from week 5 to the end of the experiment in 2.5% and 5% males. Increased PLT were observed in 1.25% and 5% males, and 2.5% and 5% females. Significant elevations or tendencies for increase in serum T. Cho and Ca were observed in all treated males and females, with clear dose-dependence in males. Organ weight measurement and histopathological observation revealed no toxicological changes. Based on growth suppression, no-observed-adverse-effect-levels (NOAELs) were estimated to be 1.25% (696 mg/kg/day) for males and 5% (2879 mg/kg/day) for females. As increases in serum Ca were observed in the lowest group in both sexes, a no-observed-effect level (NOEL) could not be determined in this study.

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