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Mutagenic Metabolites of Benzene Detected in the Microscreen Assay

Toby G. Rossman, Catherine B. Klein and Carroll A. Snyder
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 81 (May, 1989), pp. 77-79
DOI: 10.2307/3430809
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3430809
Page Count: 3
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Mutagenic Metabolites of Benzene Detected in the Microscreen Assay
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Abstract

The reactive metobolite responsible for benzene hematotoxicity and carcinogenicity is unknown. It can be hypothesized that the ultimate carcinogen derived from benzene metabolism might also act as a mutagen. This laboratory has recently developed a new assay that can detect mutagens of all types, using a single strain of bacteria, E. coli WP2s (λ), as a target. Different genetic end points can be monitored in the same exposed population of bacteria. When a number of known metabolites of benzene were assayed, only trans, trans-muconic acid gave a strong positive response. Mutations were induced at two genetic loci ( Trp+ revertants and T5 resistance). The mutagenic activity was greatly increased when a rat liver metabolizing system was added. We speculate that trans,trans-muconic acid is metabolized to a diepoxide, which may be the ultimate mutagen and possibly the ultimate carcinogen.

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