Assessing the Cytotoxic and Genotoxic Effects of Sodium Metabisulphite: A Food Preservative.
Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of sodium metabisulphite, a commonly used food additive has been studied on root tip cells of Allium cepa L. The root tips were treated with series of concentrations (10, 20, 30mg/lit) for 10 and 20 hours. Increase in concentration and time duration of the treatments decreased root growth, mitotic index and increased in chromosomal abnormalities. C-mitosis was the most frequent abnormality observed along with other abnormalities such as sticky chromosomes, laggards, micronuclei, and bridges during anaphase and telophase. The present investigation clearly establishes the deleterious effects of sodium metabisulphite. Thus, its use should be minimized and search for alternative biopreservative having negligible toxicity must be undertaken.