Toxicity and genotoxicity enhancement during polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons' biodegradation

Shimshon Belkin, Michael Stieber, Andreas Tiehm, F. H. Frimmel, Aharon Abeliovich, Peter Werner, Shimon Ulitzur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Several laboratory column percolators were operated in order to study the bioremediation potential of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)‐contaminated soils. The columns contained either soil artificially amended with specific PAH mixtures or contaminated soil from a site in Karlsruhe, Germany. In all cases, biodegradative processes led to the elimination of the original contaminants. This, however, was accompanied by a marked increase in genotoxic activity of the column effluents as determined by the MutatoxTM assay. Genotoxicity was practically abolished, however, when a surfactant was added to the percolating fluids. While in some cases the changes in genotoxicity were paralleled by toxicity (MicrotoxTM) data, in others the trend was opposite. It is concluded that when degradation is incomplete, the potential exists for toxicity and genotoxicity enhancement, with the latter hazard not always predictable by short‐term toxicity assays. Routine genotoxicity monitoring is thus advocated for bioremediation projects; the MutatoxTM assay appears to be a convenient tool for this purpose. © 1994 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Water Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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