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Testing, comparison, advancement and evaluation of genotoxicity tests for surface water. Subproject 15: coordination Final report / Erprobung, Vergleich, Weiterentwicklung und Beurteilung von Gentoxizitaetstests fuer Oberflaechenwasser. Teilprojekt 15: Koordination des Verbundvorhabens Abschlussbericht

  • Grummt, T.
  • Wunderlich, H.G.
  • Umweltbundesamt, Bad Elster (Germany)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1999
OpenGrey Repository


The occurrence of genotoxic substances in river water is a serious problem because of their risk for both human and ecosystem health. Although numerous test methods for the genotoxicological testing of water samples are described in the literature from Germany and abroad, no sound experience has been gained as to whether the test systems hitherto used are sufficiently sensitive and suited for routine use. Therefore, a research project was designed to develop a test strategy for the detection and evaluation of genotoxic effects in surface water aquatic organisms. Indicator tests were evaluated with respect to their predictive power, sensitivity an practicability in order to determine whether they are suitable for inclusion in a battery of tests. The bioassays utilized in this study include the umu-test, alkaline filter elution (mussels, green algae), the DNA unwinding test (fish larvae, cray fish, mussels, fish cell lines), the comet assay (protozoans, green algae, mussels, primary fish hepatocytes, fish and mammalian cell lines) and the UDS-test (primary fish hepatocytes). The Ames Salmonella assay, a direct genotoxicity assay and a well-known base test in chemicals assessment, was included in the study programme for comparison. (orig.) assays. The test- and substance-specific sensitivity thresholds were determined. In a simplified interlaboratory trial 4 non-spiked and genotoxin-spiked surface water samples from the river Weisse Elster (doted genotoxin: a Gentox mixture based on 4-NQO) were tested with the assays with the result that reproducible dose-effect relationships have been shown. In a second phase of the project the validated methods were applied to nonconcentrated samples of surface water taken on a monthly basis from the river Rhine, the Wahnbach dam, the rivers Elbe and Mulde over a period of 12 months as well as from the river Wupper and a gasworks site. This allowed temporal and spatial variations to be identified over a relatively long period of time. Chemical profile analyses were carried out on all samples to identify genotoxic contaminants, but the chemical data generated did not reflect the genotoxic effects found by the biological methods. The data obtained showed the comet assay, the umu-test and the Ames-test to be particularly sensitive and to detect genotoxic effects in complex mixtures in a low dose range. They seem to be suitable for routine testing and should therefore be used in the first stage of a graduated testing battery for detectionof gentoxicity in surface / SIGLE / Available from TIB Hannover: F00B946+a / FIZ - Fachinformationszzentrum Karlsruhe / TIB - Technische Informationsbibliothek / Bundesministerium fuer Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Bonn (Germany) / DE / Germany

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