Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) are mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds found in meats cooked at high temperatures. Although chicken is consumed in large quantities in the United States, there is little information on its HAA content. The objective of this study was to measure the five predominant HAAs (IQ, MeIQ, MeIQx, DiMeIQx, and PhIP) in chicken cooked by various methods to different degrees of doneness. Chicken breasts were panfried, oven-broiled, or grilled/barbecued. Whole chickens were roasted or stewed. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts were cooked to three degrees of doneness: just until done, well done, or very well done. High levels of PhIP (ranging from 12 to 480 ng/g cooked meat) were found in chicken breasts when panfried, oven-broiled, and grilled/barbecued but not in whole roasted or stewed chicken. PhIP concentration increased in skinless, boneless chicken breast with longer cooking time, higher internal temperature, and greater degree of surface browning. PhIP concentration was also high in chicken breasts cooked with skin and bones. MeIQx and DiMeIQx levels increased with the degree of doneness, whereas IQ and MeIQ were not detectable in any of these chicken samples. Certain cooking methods produce PhIP, a known colon and breast carcinogen in rodents and possibly a human carcinogen, at substantially higher levels in chicken than has been reported previously in red meat.


This work was performed under interagency agreement between the National Cancer Institute and the United States Department of Agriculture Interagency Agreement No. Y01-CP2-0521; the National Cancer Institute and the United States Department of Energy under Interagency Agreement No. Y01-CP2-0523-01. This work was also supported by United States Department of Energy under contract No. W-7405-Eng-48 and a National Cancer Institute Grant CA55861.

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