Protection against neo-formed contaminants (NFCs)-induced toxicity by phytochemicals

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Oct;108(Pt B):392-406. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.01.023. Epub 2017 Jan 28.


Neo-formed compounds (NFCs) are commonly found in all kinds of foods due to the complex reaction between components during processing. Acrylamide, benzo(a)pyrene and heterocyclic aromatic amines are the main types of NFCs in foods enriched with carbohydrate, fats and proteins, respectively. They have exhibited diverse toxicity, such as neurotoxicity, genotoxicity, potentially carcinogenic and reproductive toxicity. In recent years, various phytochemicals have been found to be effective in alleviation of their related toxicities both in vitro and in vivo. This review provides evidences on the protection roles of phytochemicals against the diverse toxicity induced by three NFCs. Moreover, the prevention mechanisms of phytochemicals are summarized. Three potential aspects involving excellent antioxidant activity, DNA protection and enzyme induction contribute to the successful protection mechanism. Meanwhile, the limitations from existing knowledge have been illustrated and the possible perspectives for the further study have also been considered. The information from this review would be useful to provide an easier and better way to improve human health when considering the possibility of using foods enriched with phytochemicals for prevention of the toxicity of exogenous pollutants.

Keywords: Acrylamide; Benzo(a)pyrene; Heterocyclic aromatic amines; Neo-formed compounds; Phytochemicals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Food Analysis
  • Food Contamination*
  • Food Handling*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry*


  • Phytochemicals