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J Environ Manage. 2012 Sep 30;107:140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 May 26.

Effects of Spent Pot Liner on mitotic activity and nuclear DNA content in meristematic cells of Allium cepa.

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Department of Biology, Federal University of Lavras, Box 3730, 37200-000 Lavras-MG, Brazil.


Industrial waste usually contains complex mixtures of mutagenic chemicals. Spent Pot Liner (SPL) is a complex solid waste from the aluminum industry, which is composed of organics, fluoride salts, inorganic cyanides, metals, and sodium. Due to the toxicity of these compounds, this study sought to use cytogenetics and flow cytometry to assess the effects of SPL on cell cycle parameters and DNA content in meristematic cells of Allium cepa. Three concentrations of leachates from SPL-soil mixtures were used for the study: 0, 10, and 25%. Roots were collected and analyzed after 4, 8, 12, 24, and 36 h of exposure to the above SPL leachates. The results showed an overall mitodepressive effect accompanied by an increased percentage of condensed nuclei and genomic instability as evidenced by the presence of cellular/chromosomal abnormalities. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling revealed nuclei with fragmented DNA, a marker of programmed cell death. This study also addressed the question of reversibility of the effects of SPL and found that 36 h of exposure to 25% SPL seemed to be the point at which the effects on the induction of apoptosis became irreversible.

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