Heterocyclic amines: occurrence and prevention in cooked food

Environ Health Perspect. 1996 Mar;104(3):280-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.96104280.


This article deals with the mutagenic heterocyclic amines, especially the aminoimidazoazaarenes family, isolated from cooked foods. The conditions which lead to their occurrence in foods are discussed. This formation primarily depends on the characteristics of the food, such as the type of the food and the presence of precursors, water, and lipids. Secondarily, it depends on the cooking modes where the temperature is considered to be the most important factor involved in their formation. As their formation during cooking represents a health risk, we present some ways and means to limit their formation by alternative cooking methods that tend to decrease heterocyclic amine concentrations in foods as they are implicated in cancer risks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amines / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cooking*
  • Fishes
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / analysis*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Mutagens / analysis*


  • Amines
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Mutagens