Mutagenic activity and heterocyclic amine carcinogens in commercial pet foods

Mutat Res. 2003 Aug 5;539(1-2):195-201. doi: 10.1016/s1383-5718(03)00164-5.


Twenty-five commercial pet foods were analyzed for mutagenic activity using the Ames/Salmonella test with strain TA98 and added metabolic activation. All but one gave a positive mutagenic response. Fourteen of these samples were analyzed for heterocyclic amine mutagens/carcinogens and all but one contained 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx) and 10 of 14 contained 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) as analyzed by HPLC and confirmed by photodiode array peak matching. From these findings it is hypothesized that there is a connection between dietary heterocyclic amines and cancer in animals consuming these foods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amines / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Carcinogens*
  • Food Analysis
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / analysis*
  • Imidazoles / analysis
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Mutagens*
  • Quinoxalines / analysis
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics


  • Amines
  • Carcinogens
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Imidazoles
  • Mutagens
  • Quinoxalines
  • 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f)quinoxaline
  • 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo(4,5-b)pyridine