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Mutat Res. 2008 May 31;653(1-2):130-3. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2008.04.004. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Antimutagenic and mutagenic activities of some terpenes in the bacterial reverse mutation assay.

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Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza University, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy.


The mutagenic and antimutagenic effects of linalool, linalyl acetate and beta-caryophyllene were evaluated by the bacterial reverse mutation assay on Salmonella typhimurium TA 98 and TA 100, and on Escherichia coli WP2uvrA strains. Neither linalool nor beta-caryophyllene showed mutagenicity, but linalyl acetate induced a statistically significant increase in the number of revertant colonies in WP2uvrA, both with and without S9 mixture. Linalool was devoid of antimutagenic activity against 2-nitrofluorene (2NF), sodium azide (SA), methyl methane sulfonate (MMS) and 2-aminoanthracene (2AA). In contrast, beta-caryophyllene showed a strong antimutagenic activity against 2NF: at the maximum concentration tested (6.40mg/plate) the number of 2NF-induced revertant colonies was reduced by 83.9%. beta-Caryophyllene also showed to counteract the mutagenicity of SA (in TA 100), MMS and 2AA (in WP2uvrA): the effect was weak against SA (inhibition lower than 25%) and moderate against MMS and 2AA (up to 30.5%). The antimutagenic activity of beta-caryophyllene observed here suggests further studies to evaluate its possible chemopreventive properties.

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