Mutagenic Analysis of Complex Samples of Aqueous Effluents, Air Particulates, and Foods

  • Barry Commoner
  • Anthony J. Vithayathil
  • Piero Dolara
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 15)


Opportunities and problems arise when the Ames mutagenesis technique is applied to the analysis of samples, such as those derived from the environment, which are mixtures of unknown compounds that may or may not include mutagens. The chief advantage of this application of the method is well known: one can use it as a rapid, inexpensive, biological screen capable of detecting mutagens by their biological effect. This makes it possible to avoid the very difficult task of detecting and identifying all of the numerous organic compounds that may occur in such a sample in order to compare them with a list of known mutagens. The chief disadvantage of this approach is that one is “flying blind,” so to speak, unaware in advance of what types of compounds are present, their concentrations, and their possible interference with the test.


Mutagenic Activity Beef Extract Ames Test Ground Beef Methylene Chloride Extract 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Commoner
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Vithayathil
    • 1
  • Piero Dolara
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Biology of Natural SystemsWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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