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FA COST Action 922
Health Implications of Dietary Amines

The human diet contains significant amounts of amines and amine related compounds that are present either naturally or as a result of food processing or storage.Some of these compounds are known to be hazardous to health, while the dangers associated with others are poorly understood. On the other hand some are beneficial to health. The main aim of this Action was to bring together information from diverse scientific areas and disciplines in order to evaluate the potential risk or benefits to human health of dietary amines.

Over the course of the Action there were several reports of the use of biogenic amines to monitor the quality of food. This was used to monitor quality during storage at appropriate and inappropriate temperatures, under different pressures and after new types of processing. The results all indicated that as the quality of the product decreased the biogenic amine content increased. Although not a linear relationship, it was clear that as sensorial quality declined there was an exponential increase in amines in particular the polyamines, putrescine, spermidine and spermine.

In terms of identifying ways of decreasing biogenic amine content of food it was observed that for fermented products if starter cultures that were low in amino acid decarboxylase activity were used, the biogenic amine content of the products could significantly decrease. These products include mature cheeses, wines and fermented sausages.

With the exception of histamine, there is little evidence of intolerance in the European population to biogenic amines. However, the results recommend that consideration be given to amine load taken in a single meal. For example, in a typical Austrian meal with fermented sausage, cheese and beer the amine load may be very high and likely to induce problems similar to histamine in tolerance.

The interactions between amines and their biosynthetic pathways were addressed and the potential of inhibitors targeted at biogenic amine synthesis to be chemotherapeutic and chemopreventative agents were investigated

Particular success was achieved in establishing models in silico for predicting amine metabolism. The data from the Action has been used to provide the input for the predictive modelling programmes.

Several groups investigated the use of inhibitors of polyamine biosynthesis as anticancer agents. As with all cancer biology there were successes including the potential promise from the polyamine analogues. These analogues are also showing some promise against parasitic diseases endemic to the developing world.

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Dr Heather M. WALLACE (UK)

Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:

Mr Christophe PEETERS


Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF

Progress Report

Download Progress Report as PDF


* content provided by e-COST.
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Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page