Deamination: Nitrous Acid as a mutagen

    Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3) is a common food additive that also occurs naturally in meats preserved by smoking. In the stomach, Sodium Nitrate is converted to Nitrous Acid (HNO2), which acts as a mutagen by deamination (removal of the NH2 group) of adenine and/or cytosine to an ether group, thus altering their base pairing.

    Sodium Nitrate is one of many chemicals which, although not directly mutagenic themselves, become mutagenic when metabolized. Standard mutagenicity tests (such as the Ames Test) [iGen 7.14]  simulate metabolism by mixing the chemicals with liver extracts .

All text material © 2014 by Steven M. Carr