Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is widely used as a natural sugar substitute. Thus, the safety of its usage is very important. In the present study, short-term genotoxicity assays were conducted to evaluate the potential genotoxic effects of erythritol. According to the OECD test guidelines, the maximum test dose was 5,000 μg/plate in bacterial reverse mutation tests, 5,000 μg/ml in cell-based assays, and 5,000 mg/kg for in vivo testing. An Ames test did not reveal any positive results. No clastogenicity was observed in a chromosomal aberration test with CHL cells or an in vitro micronucleus test with L5178Y tk (+/-) cells. Erythritol induced a marginal increase of DNA damage at two high doses by 24 hr of exposure in a comet assay using L5178Y tk (+/-) cells. Additionally, in vivo micronucleus tests clearly demonstrated that oral administration of erythritol did not induce micronuclei formation of the bone marrow cells of male ICR mice. Taken together, our results indicate that erythritol is not mutagenic to bacterial cells and does not cause chromosomal damage in mammalian cells either in vitro or in vivo.
Keywords: Ames assay; Chromosomal aberration test; Comet assay; Erythritol; Genotoxicity; Micronucleus assay.