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METAQUANT metagenomics platform. © INRA, BEAUCARDET William

Cocktail effects of toxic substances demonstrated in vitro

By Pascale Mollier, translated by Teri Jones-Villeneuve
Updated on 11/22/2016
Published on 08/31/2016

Synergistic effects have been demonstrated in vitro between two types toxic substances found in food: pesticides and compounds formed when cooking meat.

Two major issues currently dominate in the field of toxicology: chronic effects and cocktail effects.

We are regularly exposed to potentially toxic substances in our food and environments from pesticides and xenobiotic chemicals. While the possible number of combinations is nearly infinite, researchers have identified “key combinations”, i.e., those to which consumers are most frequently exposed. These combinations are tested in different biological systems to assess potential cocktail effects, which may either be synergistic or supra-additive. In simple terms, researchers are looking to see whether the substances are more toxic when found together than on their own.

This report discusses several results that highlight the cocktail effects between pesticides and between substances produced when grilling food:

  • Article 1: Supra-additive effect of a pesticide cocktail (four fungicides and one insecticide) in a genotoxicity test (DNA degradation) on human liver cells.
  • Article 2: Supra-additive effect of the same cocktail on the PXR nuclear receptor in human liver cells. Infra-additive effect of another cocktail.
  • Article 3: Supra-additive effect of two substances produced when barbecuing meat in a genotoxicity test (DNA degradation) on mouse intestinal cells.
Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour, Animal Health
Associated Centre(s):
Associated Unit(s):
UMR1331 ToxAlim Food Toxicology