Document Detail

Alcohol and acetaldehyde in African fermented milk mursik--a possible etiologic factor for high incidence of esophageal cancer in western Kenya.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23155139     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Esophageal cancer is unusually frequent in Western Kenya, despite the low prevalence of classical risk factors such as heavy drinking and tobacco smoking. Among Kenyans consumption of fermented milk is an old tradition. Our hypothesis is that alcohol and acetaldehyde are produced during the fermentation process and that their carcinogenic potential contributes to the high incidence of esophageal cancer.
METHODS: Eight samples of mursik milk starter cultures were collected from different Kalenjin families in the Rift Valley province, Western Kenya. A protocol provided by the families was used for milk fermentation. Ethanol and acetaldehyde levels were measured by gas chromatography. The microbial flora in starter cultures was identified by 16S and 18S sequencing.
RESULTS: 7/8 starter cultures produced mutagenic (>100 μmol/L) levels of acetaldehyde and 4/8 starter cultures produced more than 1,000 μmol/L of acetaldehyde. The highest alcohol levels (mean 79.4 mmol/L) were detected in the four fermented milks with highest acetaldehyde production. The mean number of microbial species in the starter cultures was 5 (range 2-8). Yeasts were identified in all starter cultures (mean 1.5 species/milk) but their proportion of the total microbial count varied markedly (mean 35%, range 7%-90%). A combination of yeast and lactobacilli, especially Candida krusei with Lactobacillus kefiri, with the exclusion of other species, seemed to correlate with higher acetaldehyde and ethanol levels.
CONCLUSIONS: Significant levels of ethanol and acetaldehyde were produced during mursik fermentation.
IMPACT: When ingested several times daily the repeated exposure to carcinogenic levels of acetaldehyde may contribute to esophageal carcinogenesis.
Mikko T Nieminen; Lily Novak-Frazer; Rebecca Collins; Sonja P Dawsey; Sanford M Dawsey; Christian C Abnet; Russell E White; Neal D Freedman; Michael Mwachiro; Paul Bowyer; Mikko Salaspuro; Riina Rautemaa
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-11-15
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology     Volume:  22     ISSN:  1538-7755     ISO Abbreviation:  Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-01-07     Completed Date:  2013-07-25     Revised Date:  2014-01-09    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9200608     Medline TA:  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  69-75     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Acetaldehyde / adverse effects*
Candida / growth & development
Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology,  etiology
Colony Count, Microbial
Developing Countries
Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology*,  etiology*
Ethanol / adverse effects*
Kenya / epidemiology
Lactobacillus / growth & development
Milk / adverse effects*,  chemistry
Risk Assessment
Sampling Studies
Yeasts / growth & development
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
3K9958V90M/Ethanol; GO1N1ZPR3B/Acetaldehyde

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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