Influence of antioxidants in virgin olive oil on the formation of heterocyclic amines in fried beefburgers

E. Persson*, G. Graziani, R. Ferracane, V. Fogliano, K. Skog

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


An association between the intake of heterocyclic amines (HAs) and the development of cancer has been observed in some epidemiological studies, while in other studies no such correlation has been found. HAs are mutagenic/carcinogenic compounds formed at low levels via the Maillard reaction and a free radical mechanism during cooking of animal tissue. The addition of pure antioxidants or foods containing antioxidants has previously been shown to decrease the amount of HAs formed during cooking. In this study, beefburgers were fried in six different oils: refined olive oil, virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil depleted of phenols, rapeseed oil, virgin olive oil with rosemary extract and refined olive oil with rosemary extract. The content of antioxidative compounds in the virgin olive oil and the rosemary extract was determined. The beefburgers were analysed with regards to 12 different HAs by solid phase extraction and HPLC analysis. MeIQx, 4,8-DiMeIQx, PhIP, Harman and Norharman were detected in all beefburgers fried in the different oils, but the relative amounts varied. Frying in virgin olive oil reduced the formation of HAs compared with refined olive oil. This effect is probably due to the content of phenols in the virgin olive oil. The HA-reducing effect of virgin olive oil decreased during storage, but the addition of rosemary extract may prevent this decrease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1587-1597
Number of pages11
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Beefburger
  • Frying
  • Heterocyclic amines
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Rosemary
  • Virgin olive oil

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