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Bioassay of Extracts of Ambient Particulate Matter

I. Alfheim, G. Löfroth and M. Møller
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 47 (Jan., 1983), pp. 227-238
DOI: 10.2307/3429512
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3429512
Page Count: 12
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Bioassay of Extracts of Ambient Particulate Matter
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Abstract

Organic extracts from airborne particles collected at various sites in Scandinavia have been tested for mutagenicity in the Ames Salmonella/microsome assay. Extracts from particles in the respirable size fraction (diameter less than 3 μm) were mutagenic with and without metabolic activation. The mutagenic activity varied from day to day, mainly due to variations in meteorological parameters, especially wind speed and atmospheric stability. A seasonal variation could also be observed, with the highest average values in winter time. Samples collected in urban areas were considerably more mutagenic than samples from background areas. The results suggest that exhaust from motor vehicles are the most important source of mutagenic particles in urban areas. Comparison of roof top samples with street level samples indicated that atmospheric reactions cause transformation of nonpolar compounds in the primary emission to more oxygenated mutagenic compounds. It is, however, not known to which degree this causes an overall increase of the mutagenic activity. The mutagenic activity of emissions from stationary combustion sources have also been studied, and residential heating by burning solid fuels in small combustion units have been shown to be a major contributor to mutagens in the environment.

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