Glyphosate is an important broad-spectrum herbicide used in agriculture and residential areas for weed and vegetation control, respectively. In our study, we analyzed the in vitro clastogenic and/or aneugenic effects of glyphosate by chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei assays. Human lymphocytes were exposed to five glyphosate concentrations: 0.500, 0.100, 0.050, 0.025, and 0.0125 μg/mL, where 0.500 μg/mL represents the established acceptable daily intake value, and the other concentrations were tested in order to establish the genotoxicity threshold for this compound. We observed that chromosomal aberration (CA) and micronuclei (MNi) frequencies significantly increased at all tested concentrations, with exception of 0.0125 μg/mL. Vice versa, no effect has been observed on the frequencies of nuclear buds and nucleoplasmic bridges, with the only exception of 0.500 μg/mL of glyphosate that was found to increase in a significant manner the frequency of nucleoplasmic bridges. Finally, the cytokinesis-block proliferation index and the mitotic index were not significantly reduced, indicating that glyphosate does not produce effects on the proliferation/mitotic index at the tested concentrations.
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Acceptable daily intake
Cytokinesis-block proliferation index
European Food Safety Authority
International Agency for Research on Cancer
Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues
Maximum residue limits
- US EPA:
US Environmental Protection Agency
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This research was supported by grant from the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research (“ex 60%”).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
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Santovito, A., Ruberto, S., Gendusa, C. et al. In vitro evaluation of genomic damage induced by glyphosate on human lymphocytes. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 34693–34700 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-3417-9
- Human biomonitoring
- Chromosomal aberrations