Genotoxic and mutagenic effects of guarana (Paullinia cupana) in prokaryotic organisms

Mutat Res. 1994 May;321(3):165-73. doi: 10.1016/0165-1218(94)90041-8.


Aqueous extracts of Paullinia cupana (guarana), a species that belongs to the Sapindaceae family, were analyzed for the presence of genotoxic activities in bacterial cells. The extracts of guarana were genotoxic as assessed by lysogenic induction in Escherichia coli and they were also able to induce mutagenesis in Salmonella typhimurium. Addition of S9 microsomal fraction, catalase, superoxide dismutase or thiourea counteracted the genotoxic activity of guarana, suggesting that oxygen reactive species play an essential role in the genotoxicity of aqueous guarana extracts. The genotoxic activity in the extracts was related to the presence of a molecular complex formed by caffeine and a flavonoid (catechin or epicatechin) in the presence of potassium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caffeine / analysis
  • Catalase / pharmacology
  • Catechin / analysis
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Mutation*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Superoxide Dismutase / pharmacology
  • Virus Activation / drug effects


  • Plant Extracts
  • Caffeine
  • Catechin
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Potassium