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National Biomedical Center
for Advanced Electron Spin Resonance Technology

Our research is supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

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Detecting Gas-Phase Free Radicals in Mainstream Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoking is associated with human cancers. It has been reported that most of the lung cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. Although tobacco tars and related products in the particle phase of cigarette smoke are major causes of carcinogenic and mutagenic related diseases, cigarette smoke contains significant amounts of free radicals that are also considered as an important group of carcinogens. Free radicals attack cell constituents by damaging protein structure, lipids and DNA sequences and increase the risks of developing various types of cancers. Inhaled radicals produce adducts that contribute to many of the negative health effects of tobacco smoke in the lung. Studies have been conducted to reduce free radicals in cigarette smoke to decrease risks of the smoking-induced damage using heme-containing compounds. However, due to the cost-ineffectiveness, it has not been successfully commercialized. We developed a protocol for introducing common natural antioxidant extracts into the cigarette filter for scavenging gas phase free radicals in cigarette smoke and measuring of the scavenging effect on gas phase free radicals in mainstream cigarette smoke (MCS) using improved spin-trapping ESR Spectroscopy (see Figure below). We showed high scavenging capacity of lycopene and grape seed extract which could point to their future application in cigarette filters. An important advantage of these prospective scavengers is that they can be obtained in large quantities from byproducts of tomato or wine industry respectively.

Long-Xi Yu (CDCF-AOX Lab, Ithaca, NY)
Boris G. Dzikovski, and Jack H. Freed (ACERT)
June 2012