Polyphenols are ubiquitous in plant foods, and many have been associated with a variety of biological activities, including antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties. Some African foodstuffs have been analyzed for antimutagenic polyphenols by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography–Electrospray Ionization–Mass Spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS). The results showed that Dacryodes edulis fruit, Moringa oleifera and Syzygium aromaticum contained polyphenols like ellagic acid, gallate, methylgallate, catechol, kaempferol quercetin and their derivatives. Also Canarium schweinfurthii Engl oil contained phenolic compounds and lignans, namely; catechol, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, tyrosol, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, dihydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, phloretic acid, pinoresinol, secoisolariciresinol. In addition, tomatoes (Lycopersicun esculentum Mill) contained the powerful antioxidant, lycopene; cabbage (Brassica oleracea) contained indole-3-carbinol; citrus fruits contained pectin; Soursop (Annona muricata) contained annonaceous acetogenins; soya beans (Glycine max) contained isoflavones; chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum) contained capsaicin, and green tea (Camellia sinensis) contained (-) epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), (-) epicatechin, (-) epicatechin-3-gallate and (-) epigallocatechin -3-gallate. Considered together with the reported presence of antimutagenic polyphenols, especially flavonoids in other African foods like bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), red palm oil (Elaeis guineensis), Hibiscus sabdariffa), okra (Hibiscus esculentus), Beniseed (Sesanum indicum), Adansonia digitata, Amaranthus sp, Telfeiria occidentalis, locust beans (Parkia clapertoniana), ginger (Ginger officinale), garlic (Allium sativum), Tamarindus indica, cashew (Anacardium occidentalis), Mango (Mangifera indica), Vitex doniana, Syzygium aromaticum, Balanites aegyptiaca, citrus fruits, Irvingia gabonensis, Psidium guavjava, Talinum triangulare, Garcinia cola, tomatoes, soya beans, atile (Canarium schweinfurthii), it is concluded that a number of African foods have the capacity to mitigate against mutation induced by several environmental agents, and therefore could contribute significantly to cancer chemoprevention.

S.E. Atawodi, Biochemistry Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria EMail: [email protected] .


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  • Received: 16 May 2012
  • Accepted: 16 May 2012
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