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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Genotoxic activity of a technical toxaphene mixture and its photodegradation products in SOS genotoxicity tests.

Toxaphene (CAS No. 800-35-2) is a complex mixture of several hundred components that was used worldwide primarily as an agricultural pesticide with insecticide effects in the second half of the 20th century. In vitro investigations of the genotoxicity and mutagenicity of toxaphene were generally described in the literature, but they provided somewhat equivocal results. We re-evaluated the genotoxicity of technical toxaphene in two prokaryotic systems. The SOS Chromotest showed high sensitivity to toxaphene: three concentrations (40, 20 and 10 mg/l) were clearly positive and the dose-response effect was evident. In the umuC assay, a dose-dependent increase in genotoxic activity was observed at toxaphene concentrations from 2.5 to 40.0 mg/l, but these results were found to be not significant. The genotoxicity of toxaphene and its photodegradation products after UV-irradiation (3-6-9 h) at concentrations ranging from 7.5 to 60.0 mg/l was also examined in this study. An irradiated solution of technical toxaphene after 3 h showed no significant evidence of bacterial growth inhibition. However, exposure of Salmonella to 6 h UV-irradiated toxaphene showed a toxic effect compared with the negative control. After 9 h irradiation, a decrease of bacterial growth was observed. Activity of beta-galactosidase in the presence of a toxaphene solution was significantly increased after 6 and 9 h irradiation, reaching values that were 2.4- and 3.1-fold higher, respectively, than the control, which exceeded the criteria of significant genotoxicity. These results show that while technical toxaphene is a weak, direct-acting mutagen in some bacterial tests, a dose-dependent toxicity and genotoxicity of its photoproducts could be conclusively demonstrated by the umuC test.[1]


  1. Genotoxic activity of a technical toxaphene mixture and its photodegradation products in SOS genotoxicity tests. Bartos, T., Skarek, M., Cupr, P., Kosubová, P., Holoubek, I. Mutat. Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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