Experimental and simulation studies of heat flow and heterocyclic amine mutagen/carcinogen formation in pan-fried meat patties

Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 May;40(5):673-84. doi: 10.1016/s0278-6915(01)00126-0.


Heterocylic amine (HA) compounds formed in the cooking of certain foods have been shown to be bacterial mutagens and animal carcinogens, and may be a risk factor for human cancer. To help explain the variation observed in HA formation under different cooking conditions, we have performed heat-flow simulations and experiments on the pan-frying of beef patties. The simulations involve modeling the heat flow within a meat patty using empirically derived thermal transport coefficients for the meat. The predicted temperature profiles are used to integrate the Arrhenius rate equation to estimate the concentration of HAs formed in the meat. We find that our simulations accurately model experimentally determined temperature profiles, cooking times, HA spatial distributions and total HA formation in patties that are flipped once during the pan-frying process. For patties flipped every 60 s, the simulations qualitatively agree with experiment in predicting reduced cooking times and HA formation relative to the singly-flipped patties. However, the simulations overestimate the effect of rapid flipping on cooking times and underestimate the effect of flipping on total HAs formed. These results suggest that the dramatic reductions in HA formation due to rapid flipping may be due to factors other than the heating process or that there is a critical feature of the flipping process that is not captured in our model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Carcinogens / chemistry*
  • Cattle
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cooking*
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mutagens / chemistry*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Carcinogens
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Mutagens