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Vet Hum Toxicol. 2003 Mar;45(2):103-5.

Assessing food additive toxicity using a cell model.

Veterinary and human toxicology

M Stefanidou, G Alevisopoulos, A Chatziioannou, A Koutselinis


  1. Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Medical School, University of Athens 75, M Asias Street, Goudi, Greece.

PMID: 12678300


Food additives are widely used for technological purposes and their presence is often substantial daily diet. They have also been accused forvarious toxic reactions in humans. The toxicity of the food color tartrazine, the preservatives sodium nitrate and sodium benzoate, and the antioxidant BHT, was studied using the protozoan Tetrahymenapyriformis as a toxicological model. The 4 food additives were added to Tetrahymena cultures and DNA content of the protozoan nuclei measured by an image analysis system. These food additives caused a statistically significant increase in DNA content suggesting stimulation of the mitotic process. This system may contribute to the investigation of the cellular action of food additives, since mitogenic stimuli substantially alter susceptibility to chemical carcinogenesis.


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