• coffee;
  • barley;
  • forward-mutations;
  • L-arabinose resistance;
  • Salmonella


The present study shows that the L-arabinose resistance test in Salmonella typhimurium detects coffee as a strong mutagen in the absence of mammalian microsomal activation. The response of the Ara forward mutation assay was 8.5 times higher than that of TA104, which is the most sensitive to coffee of the tester strains of the Ames test. Both the mutagenesis protocol (preincubation test) and the additional genetic characteristics of the bacterial tester strain (excision repair deficiency, normal lipopolysaccharide barrier, and the presence of plasmid pKM101) were critical factors in the optimal induction by coffee of forward mutations to L-arabinose resistance. All ten samples of roasted coffee analyzed with the Ara assay were highly mutagenic: one cup of coffee (150 ml) was calculated to induce 3-4 × 106 AraR mutants. In contrast, coffee prepared from unroasted beans (green coffee) had no mutagenic activity. Regular- and sugar-roasted coffees showed similar mutagenicities, but the specific mutagenic activity of instant coffees (1559 AraR mutants/mg) was almost 2 times that of noninstant ones (834 AraR mutants/mg). The Ara assay allowed the direct testing of coffee, although it was demonstrated that lyophilization has no effect on the mutagenicity of this beverage. Like roasted coffee, roasted barley induced a large number of AraR mutants per mg (227), though its specific mutagenic activity was approximately 4 and 7 times lower than that of noninstant and instant coffees, respectively.