Many human cancers that are widely prevalent today can be prevented through modifications in life-styles, of which diet appears to be an important agent. Several dietary constituents modulate the process of carcinogenesis and prevent genotoxicity. Many plant constituents including turmeric appear to be potent antimutagens and antioxidants. Therefore the modulatory effects of turmeric and curcumin on the levels of benzo[a]pyrene induced DNA adducts in the livers of rats were studied by the newly developed 32P-postlabelling assay method. Turmeric when fed at 0.1, 0.5 and 3% and the active principle of turmeric (curcumin) when fed at a level of 0.03% in the diet for 4 weeks significantly reduced the level of BP-DNA adducts including the major adduct dG-N2-BP, formed within 24 h in response to a single i.p. injection of benzo[a]pyrene. The significance of these effects in terms of the potential anticarcinogenic effects of turmeric is discussed. Further, these results strengthen the various other biological effects of turmeric which have direct relevance to anticarcinogenesis and chemoprevention.