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

Condensed tannins induce micronuclei in cultured V79 Chinese hamster cells.

The tannins, delphinidin and procyanidin were isolated from flowers of white clover (Trifolium repens) and the leaves of Arnot Bristly Locust (Robina fertilis) respectively, and tested for mutagenic properties in a range of systems. There was no evidence for either compound causing significant levels of frameshift or base-pair mutagenesis in bacterial mutagenicity assays, although both were weakly positive in a bacterial DNA-repair test. Both compounds very slightly increased the frequency of petite mutagenesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain D5. In V79 Chinese hamster cells, both were efficient inducers of micronuclei. In each of these test systems, increasing the potential of the compound for metabolic activation by addition of 'S9' mix had little effect on toxicity or mutagenicity of either tannin. It would seem that potential chromosome-breaking activity of condensed tannins could represent a carcinogenic hazard for animals grazing on pastures of white clover in flower. It may also have wider implications for human carcinogenesis by some, if not all, condensed tannins.[1]


  1. Condensed tannins induce micronuclei in cultured V79 Chinese hamster cells. Ferguson, L.R., van Zijl, P., Holloway, W.D., Jones, W.T. Mutat. Res. (1985) [Pubmed]
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