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Food Chem Toxicol. 1994 Aug;32(8):727-34.

Dietary effects on the uptake of benzo[a]pyrene.

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Food Research Division, Bureau of Chemical Safety, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


It has been established that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), or more specifically benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), either by inhalation through cigarette smoking or by contact through occupational exposure of the lungs or skin, can result in cancerous lesions. It appears that the general population consumes more B[a]P from food than from smoking. Despite this, epidemiological studies have not implicated B[a]P from foods as a causative factor in some human cancers. This lack of an epidemiological correlation between cancer incidence and intake of dietary PAHs/B[a]P could be due to some 'protective' or 'detoxification' mechanism. Despite the abundance of literature regarding the food content of B[a]P, there are few data concerning its uptake from foods. In the present study we investigated the intestinal absorption of B[a]P from foods using bile duct cannulated rats and radioactive B[a]P. [14C]B[a]P was first added to solvents such as water, corn oil, liquid paraffin or 50% ethanol, which were the administered by gavage to rats fed diets with or without added carbon. Additionally, food polyphenols such as quercetin and chlorogenic acid were also tested for their effect on the absorption of B[a]P. The results indicated that the excretion of B[a]P in the bile was reduced by water, carbon, quercetin and chlorogenic acid but was potentiated by corn oil. To complement the in vivo studies, some in vitro tests to investigate the efficiency of B[a]P extraction from different foods using water or oil as solvents were also performed. These tests indicated that extraction of B[a]P from foods was affected by the solvent. It is postulated that reduced solubility, physical adsorption and the formation of chemical adducts between B[a]P and some food ingredients, play a sporadic, although still not well determined, role in reducing the absorption of B[a]P from the gut. The results of these studies suggest that B[a]P absorption from the intestinal tract is markedly affected by dietary components, and that this may be a factor that contributes to the lack of an epidemiological correlation between some human cancers and the B[a]P content of foods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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