Mutagenic activity of surface waters adjacent to a nuclear fuel processing facility

O. C. Pancorbo, Pamela J Lein, R. D. Blevins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Surface waters adjacent to a nuclear fuel processing facility were extracted, using XAD-resin adsorption followed by solvent elution, and the extracts were assayed for mutagenic potential by the Ames Salmonella-mammalian microsome test. Dose-related mutagenic responses with TA102 (+ S9) were produced with the extracts of water samples obtained from a creek receiving waste-water from the processing facility (specific mutagenic activities of 7,250 to 8,250 net revertants per L equivalent of water). The creek water extracts were not mutagenic with TA102 in the absence of S9, or with any other tester strain (i.e., TA97, TA98, TA100, and TA1535) in the presence or absence of S9. Surface water samples downstream and upstream of this creek were not mutagenic; apparently indicating the lack of persistence of the observed mutagenicity. The major constituent in the mutagenic creek water extracts was identified as tributylphosphate (TBP) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. However, TBP was not mutagenic with TA102 (+ S9) at doses ranging from 196 μg/plate to 9.8 ng/plate. Because tester strain TA102 detects oxidative mutagenesis due to x-rays and ultraviolet radiation, it is possible that the observed mutagenicity of creek water extracts was due to radionuclides complexed to TBP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-537
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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