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||N-nitroso compounds and mutagens in Chinese fermented (sour) corn pancakes.
||Groves FD, Issaq H, Fox S, Jeffrey AM, Whysner J, Zhang L, You WC, Fraumeni JF Jr
||J AOAC Int
||Stomach cancer rates in rural Linqu County, Shandong Province, China, are exceptionally high. A previous case-control study revealed that the risk of stomach cancer was 30% higher among those who consumed sour (fermented) corn pancakes at least daily. A previous study of the sour pancakes reported volatile nitrosamines in most specimens, and almost half reportedly showed mutagenic activity. Few households currently consume sour pancakes, and the duration of fermentation has been shortened. We tested specimens of pancake batter and sour pancakes from Linqu County for mutagenic activity using the Ames test; for N-nitroso compounds (NOC) we used the Nitrolite-thermal energy analysis (TEA) method. Results of the Ames test were inconclusive: only 1 out of 15 cooked pancakes showed a positive mutagenic response, and all 15 batter specimens were negative; however, several batter specimens showed a weakly positive trend of mutagenicity with extract concentration. Our assay for total nitroso compounds was weakly positive in only 1 out of 15 specimens of sour pancake batter. That specimen was also tested by gas chromatography-TEA for nitrosaminoacids and volatile nitrosamines, but none were detected. It seems unlikely that the Chinese sour pancakes are significantly contaminated by NOC or other mutagens.