Effects of marinades on the formation of heterocyclic amines in grilled beef steaks



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Kansas State University


Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are a class of toxicological compounds that can be formed during heating of precursors, amino acids, creatinine, creatine, and sugars at high temperature cooking of muscle products. These potent mutagens are suspected to play a role in human cancers. The objective of this study was to investigate a practical method to reduce the amount of HCAs through marinating of beef steaks. We were interested in the potential health benefits of natural extracts containing polyphenols present in commercial marinades. HCAs were compared in marinated and unmarinated steaks. Four common HCAs were investigated: 2-amino-3,8- dimethyl-imidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo[4,5- b]pyridine (PhIP), 1-methyl-9H-pyrido[4,3-b]-indol (harman), and 9H-pyrido[4,3-b]-indol (norharman). Steaks were marinated for one hour and grilled at 400 °F for 5 minutes at each side. Meat samples were extracted by solid phase extraction (SPE) and analysis with HPLC showed the significant decrease (p < 0.05) of sum of polar and nonpolar HCAs by 71% compared to untreated steaks. For confirmation of spices potency on reduction of HCA formation, the same experiment was applied to meat with the base of commercial marinade powders excluding the herbs and spices. Lesser reduction of HCAs were shown and in some cases no significant reduction occurred. HPLC analysis showed presence of considerable amount of natural phenolic antioxidants of carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid, which can be related to the reduction effects of HCA formation in commercial marinades. These results revealed that marinating meats before grilling with various spices/herbs containing antioxidants may reduce formation of mutagenic /carcinogenic HCAs markedly.



Heterocyclic Amines

Graduation Month



Master of Science


Food Science Institute

Major Professor

J. Scott Smith