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

The development of anaerobic methods for bacterial mutation assays: aerobic and anaerobic fluctuation tests of human faecal extracts and reference mutagens.

Methods for performing microtitre fluctuation tests in an anaerobic enclosure have been devised in order to study the mutagenic activity of human faecal extracts under conditions of strict anaerobiosis. Under these conditions (monitored by growth of obligate anaerobes), two mutagens (4-chloromethylbiphenyl (4CMB) and potassium dichromate) were reproducibly mutagenic to Salmonella typhimurium TA 100 and Escherichia coli WP2uvrA(pKM101), respectively. We investigated the mutagenicity of aqueous extracts of faeces, prepared aerobically and anaerobically, collected from a single donor. Bioassay of 5 faecal extracts showed that 4 contained substances which promoted auxotrophic growth of his- and tryp- bacteria, and were therefore unsuitable for mutagenicity assay. The remaining extract (half of which was prepared aerobically, the other anaerobically) was assayed for mutagenicity in S. typhimurium TA 100. Reproducible dose-response curves were obtained with the aerobic extract and with the anaerobic extract when both were assayed under aerobic conditions. Negative results were obtained when the anaerobic or aerobic extracts were assayed anaerobically, under conditions where concurrent assays of 4CMB were positive. We conclude that bacterial fluctuation tests using reversion from auxotrophy to prototrophy as the genetic marker can be seriously compromised by the presence of substances (including amino acids) in the test material which promote auxotrophic growth. Moreover, it is clear that the results and interpretation of mutagenicity tests of faecal extracts are very dependent on whether air is present or absent during both extraction and assay.[1]


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