Abstract Bioassay-directed fractionation with a Salmonella/microsomal assay against the food borne mutagen 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5- f]quinoline (IQ) was used to identify antimutagenic components of hops. Hops pellets extracted with diethylether showed antimutagenic activity against mutations induced by IQ. Fractionation of the diethylether extract (DE) by column chromatography, followed by semi-preparative HPLC yielded two fractions (E4b and E4d) with strong antimutagenic activity against IQ induced mutations. Separation of fraction E4b resulted in inactive fractions, while fraction E4d has been identified to be xanthohumol. In mammalian test system with human hepatoma HepG2 cells fraction E4d at 10 μg/ml completely prevented formation of IQ induced DNA damage. These results indicate that xanthohumol is a very promising potential protective agent against genotoxicity of food borne carcinogens, which warrants further investigation.