The adsorption of a range of dietary carcinogens by alpha-cellulose, a model insoluble dietary fiber.


Ferguson LR, Roberton AM, Watson ME




Mutat Res.


One of the ways dietary fibers may protect against colorectal cancer is by adsorbing carcinogens and carrying them out of the digestive tract, thus lessening interaction of the carcinogens with the colonic tissue. We investigated this mechanism of action by testing in vitro the abilities of a range of carcinogens, including known animal colon carcinogens, to adsorb to alpha-cellulose, which we have used as a model insoluble dietary fiber. The carcinogens were N-nitroso-N-methylurea (NMU), benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and a number of heterocyclic aromatic amines which have been found in heated foods. It was found that the ability of a carcinogen to adsorb to alpha-cellulose is strongly related to the hydrophobicity of the carcinogen measured as the calculated logarithm of the partition coefficient between 1-octanol and water (C log P). The hydrophilic carcinogen, NMU, (C log P = -0.204), adsorbed only poorly, whereas the very hydrophobic carcinogen, B[a]P, (C log P = 6.124), adsorbed strongly. Carcinogens with intermediate hydrophobicities showed intermediate abilities to adsorb.