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Pharmacologia Vol. 8 (3), 2017
Research Article
Safety Concern Following Sub-acute Exposure to the Popular Food Additives, Sorghum bicolor and Saltpetre, Either Separately or in Combination in Sprague-Dawley Rats
Daniels Konja , Isaac Tabiri Henneh , Samuel Badu-Nyarko , Samuel Addo Akwetey , Elvis Ofori Ameyaw and Martins Ekor
 
Abstract: Background and Objective: Sorghum bicolor (SB) and saltpeter (Sp) are food additives commonly used by food vendors of West African countries. Despite widespread use, there is still paucity of information on their safety, especially when used in combination. This present study investigated the sub-acute toxicity potential of aqueous extracts of SB and Sp when administered separately or in combination. Materials and Methods: About forty Sprague-Dawley rats of both sexes weighing 150-200 g were assigned into ten groups of four rats per group. SB or Sp was administered in three different doses (100, 300 or 1000 mg kg–1) to six different groups of rats. Three other groups received a combination of both SB and Sp at each of the dose levels while control rats received distilled water (10 mL kg–1). Extracts were administered once daily by gavage for 14 days after which rats were sacrificed by decapitation. Blood and some vital organs were obtained and processed for analyses. Significant differences were determined using a one-way ANOVA with Newman Keul’s post hoc test. Results: Sub-acute exposure to SB and Sp significantly (p<0.05) elevated activities of aspartate aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase when administered separately or in combination. Blood glucose was significantly (p<0.05) elevated by SB and Sp combination at 300 and 1000 mg kg–1. Furthermore, exposure to SB, Sp or a combination of both induced tubular necrosis, dilatation, congestion, glomerular hypertrophy, infiltration by inflammatory cells or atrophy of glomerulus with increased capsular space. Similarly, exposure to separate doses of SB and Sp induced hepatic necrosis, congestion and dilatation of sinusoids and central vein and in addition, induced fatty changes when combined. Mild congestion of cardiac tissues, splenic necrosis and sinusoidal dilatation as well as oedema and infiltration of lung with inflammatory cells were also observed. Conclusion: Exposure to SB and Sp whether separately or in combination may be harmful to health and their continuous use as food additives should be of public health concern.
 
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