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J AOAC Int. 1993 Jul-Aug;76(4):893-8.

Evaluation and application of a bioluminescent bacterial genotoxicity test.

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  • 1Iowa State University, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Ames 50011.


The Mutatox test (commercial name for the bioluminescent bacterial genotoxicity test) has been shown to be a good alternative to the Ames test. The test uses dark mutants of luminous bacteria (Vibrio fischeri) and determines the ability of various genotoxic agents to restore the luminescence by inducing mutation. It provides a rapid screening test which can be used to assay the genotoxicity of large numbers of pure and complex compounds. The test is completed in 1 day, and by serially diluting the compound, dose response data plus toxicity data can be generated for a number of samples simultaneously. For the direct assay (without exogenous metabolic activation), the positive controls selected were 3,6-diaminoacridine (proflavine) and N-methyl-N-nitro-nitrosoguanidine. For the S-9 assay, which incorporated the microsome fraction (S-9) from rat liver as an exogenous metabolic activation system, the positive controls selected were aflatoxin B1 and benzo(a)pyrene. This study also indicated that methyl-imidazo-quinoline and tryptophan pyrolysates were genotoxic in the presence of S-9 activation, aflatoxin B1 epoxide and fumonisin B1 showed direct genotoxic activity, and aflatoxin B2 and ochratoxin A were not genotoxic.

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