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Review

Myristicin and Elemicin: Potentially Toxic Alkenylbenzenes in Food

Department of Food Safety, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Max-Dohrn-Str. 8-10, 10589 Berlin, Germany
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Academic Editor: Isabel Sierra Alonso
Foods 2022, 11(13), 1988; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131988
Received: 31 May 2022 / Revised: 22 June 2022 / Accepted: 1 July 2022 / Published: 5 July 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Compounds in Plant-Based Food)
Alkenylbenzenes represent a group of naturally occurring substances that are synthesized as secondary metabolites in various plants, including nutmeg and basil. Many of the alkenylbenzene-containing plants are common spice plants and preparations thereof are used for flavoring purposes. However, many alkenylbenzenes are known toxicants. For example, safrole and methyleugenol were classified as genotoxic carcinogens based on extensive toxicological evidence. In contrast, reliable toxicological data, in particular regarding genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, and reproductive toxicity is missing for several other structurally closely related alkenylbenzenes, such as myristicin and elemicin. Moreover, existing data on the occurrence of these substances in various foods suffer from several limitations. Together, the existing data gaps regarding exposure and toxicity cause difficulty in evaluating health risks for humans. This review gives an overview on available occurrence data of myristicin, elemicin, and other selected alkenylbenzenes in certain foods. Moreover, the current knowledge on the toxicity of myristicin and elemicin in comparison to their structurally related and well-characterized derivatives safrole and methyleugenol, especially with respect to their genotoxic and carcinogenic potential, is discussed. Finally, this article focuses on existing data gaps regarding exposure and toxicity currently impeding the evaluation of adverse health effects potentially caused by myristicin and elemicin. View Full-Text
Keywords: alkenylbenzenes; myristicin; elemicin; safrole; methyleugenol; flavoring alkenylbenzenes; myristicin; elemicin; safrole; methyleugenol; flavoring
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MDPI and ACS Style

Götz, M.E.; Sachse, B.; Schäfer, B.; Eisenreich, A. Myristicin and Elemicin: Potentially Toxic Alkenylbenzenes in Food. Foods 2022, 11, 1988. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131988

AMA Style

Götz ME, Sachse B, Schäfer B, Eisenreich A. Myristicin and Elemicin: Potentially Toxic Alkenylbenzenes in Food. Foods. 2022; 11(13):1988. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131988

Chicago/Turabian Style

Götz, Mario E., Benjamin Sachse, Bernd Schäfer, and Andreas Eisenreich. 2022. "Myristicin and Elemicin: Potentially Toxic Alkenylbenzenes in Food" Foods 11, no. 13: 1988. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131988

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