Formation of N-nitrosamines in microwaved versus skillet-fried bacon containing nitrite

Food Chem Toxicol. 1989 May;27(5):295-9. doi: 10.1016/0278-6915(89)90131-2.


Differences in volatile N-nitrosamines (NNAs) found in nitrite-cured bacon cooked in an electric skillet and a microwave oven were determined. Samples of bacon were fried in an electric skillet at 171 and 206 degrees C and in a standard microwave oven (rated at 700 W full power) for 45 and 75 sec/slice. The level of NNAs were determined in the cooked bacon and fried-out fat by using gas chromatography-thermal energy analysis. Both N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR) and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) were detected in the fried-out bacon fat at levels up to 20.8 and 23.3 ng/g, respectively. The total NNAs (NDMA and NPYR) in the skillet-fried bacon was c. 11 ng/g for both the 171 and 206 degrees C fried samples. No NNAs were detected in the bacon or fried-out fat after cooking in a microwave oven for 45 sec/slice. However, excessive cooking of the bacon in a microwave oven (75 sec/slice) does produce levels of NPYR up to 5 ng/g. The minimum detectable level of NPYR was 2.08 ng/g and that of NDMA was 0.76 ng/g. These results indicated that the method of cooking meats containing nitrite could affect the level of NNAs in the cooked product, thereby affecting the level of human exposure to NNAs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cooking*
  • Dietary Fats / analysis*
  • Food Additives / analysis
  • Hot Temperature
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Microwaves*
  • Nitrites / analysis
  • Nitrosamines / analysis*
  • Swine


  • Dietary Fats
  • Food Additives
  • Nitrites
  • Nitrosamines