MANHATTAN, KAS. — Rosemary extracts possibly might act synergistically in inhibiting the formation of certain carcinogenic chemicals during the cooking of muscle foods at high temperatures, according to researchers with The Food Science Institute at Kansas State University in Manhattan. Results of the study appeared on-line Jan. 11 in the Journal of Food Science.

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are the carcinogenic chemicals formed from the cooking of muscle meats such as beef, pork, fowl and fish, according to the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md. The K.S.U. researchers evaluated the inhibition of HCAs by rosemary extracts with beef patties cooked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius) for 6 minutes on each side and at 400 degrees F (204 degrees C) for 5 minutes on each side.

Five rosemary extracts extracted with different solvents were used: extract 100W (100% water), 10E (10% ethanol), 20E (20% ethanol), 30E (30% ethanol) and 40E (40% ethanol). The five extracts were added to beef patties at the three levels of 0.05%, 0.2% and 0.5% before cooking.

There was no statistical difference in the inhibition of HCAs in the 0.05%, 0.2% and 0.5% rosemary extracts. When cooking at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes on each side, the rosemary extracts 10E and 20E were superior to rosemary extracts 100W, 30E and 40E in inhibiting HCA formation.