National well-being, life expectancy (LE), water quality, alcohol consumption etc, have been shown to be interrelated. In Lesotho, with LE below world average, one widely consumed beverage is a locally brewed sorghum beer, sesotho. Therefore, beers from four different sources were analyzed for metals, alcohols (mg/L) and mice bone marrow genotoxicity. The beers contained different (p<0.05) concentrations of As (0.012 to 0.059), Co (0.127 to 0.160), Cr (0.052 to 0.069), Cu (0.004 to 0.057), Fe (0.070 to 0.600), Ni (0.004 to 0.031), Pb (0.019 to 0.029), Se (0.645 to 0.942) and Zn (0.317 to 6.337). Cd (0.032 to 0.035), and Hg (0.131 to 0.150) concentrations were not different (p>0.05). The concentrations, in the beers, of Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni and Pb were lower (p<0.05), while those of Se, As, Cd, Hg, Se As, Cd, Se and Zn were higher (p<0.05), than in the water used for brewing. Alcohol concentrations (mg/L) in the beers differed significantly (p<0.05) and were, total alcohol (53,000 to 74,200), methanol (800 to 2000) and ethanol (53,000 to 74,000). Beer from one source only was assessed for genotoxicity. It was nonclastogenic but toxic at 50% concentration only.
Key words: Sorghum beer, metals, alcohol, genotoxicity.
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