The potential toxicity of food-added sodium benzoate in mice is concentration-dependent

Toxicol Res (Camb). 2021 May 17;10(3):561-569. doi: 10.1093/toxres/tfab024. eCollection 2021 May.


Sodium benzoate (NaB) is a versatile food preservative that has also found some applications in the treatment of medical disorders. However, till date, its possible widespread effects on the body are not well studied. We examined the likely effect of diet-added NaB on weight/food intake, haematological parameters, neurobehaviour, antioxidant status, lipid profile and anti-inflammatory/apoptotic markers in mice. Animals were assigned randomly into 4 groups of 10 mice each. Groups included normal control (fed rodent chow) and three groups fed NaB at 125 (0.0125%), 250 (0.025% and 500 (0.05%) mg/kg of feed added to diet, respectively, for eight weeks. Body weight and food intake were assessed. At the end of the experimental period animals were euthanized, blood was then taken for the assessment of haematological, biochemical and inflammatory/apoptotic markers. At the lowest concentration, NaB diet increased body weight and food intake. Decrease in haematological cell counts and total antioxidant capacity were observed, whereas serum malondialdehyde levels and superoxide dismutase activity were increased across the three concentrations. Serum tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-10 decreased, whereas caspase-3 levels showed no significant difference. Lipid profile and biochemical indices of kidney and liver function were also affected by NaB diet. In conclusion, our findings suggest that NaB may be harmful if regulations regarding its limit of consumption are mistakenly or deliberately ignored. Therefore, it is advisable that regulations on quantities to be added to food be enforced.

Keywords: anaemia; apoptosis; food preservative; inflammation; leucopenia; oxidative stress.