Inhibition effect of food preservatives on endoproteinases

Food Chem. 2017 Nov 15:235:294-297. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.05.059. Epub 2017 May 13.


The present manuscript proposes a novel approach to assess the impact of food additives on human metabolism by analysing their effect on biomarker enzyme activity. Alterations in the activity of pancreatic enzymes, such as chymotrypsin and trypsin, which are affected by the most common food preservatives, sodium benzoate (E211), potassium sorbate (E202) and sorbic acid (E200), have been evaluated. The proteinase activity was analysed with a bioluminescent method using the light intensity decay constant. Our study revealed that the preservatives reduce proteinase activity by 50% (EC50) at a much lower concentration than their acceptable daily intake (ADI). Thus, sodium benzoate and sorbic acid have an inhibition effect on chymotrypsin at concentrations 14 times lower and 70 times lower than their ADI and this increases with exposure time. Food preservative consumption impacts negatively on protein digestion, which is especially dangerous for patients with pancreatitis.

Keywords: Endoproteinases; Food additives; Pancreatic disease; Pancreatic enzymes; Potassium sorbate E202 (PubChem CID: 23676745); Sodium benzoate E211 (PubChem CID: 517055); Sorbic acid E200 (PubChem CID: 643460).

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Food Preservatives / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Sodium Benzoate / adverse effects
  • Sorbic Acid / adverse effects


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Food Preservatives
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Sorbic Acid