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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Ecological Risk Assessment

Genotoxicity is Unrelated to Total Concentration of Priority Carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Soils Undergoing Biological Treatment


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 1, p. 150-154
    Received: May 21, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): ma59@cornell.edu
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  1. Renee R. Alexander,
  2. Jixin Tang and
  3. Martin Alexander *
  1. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853


A solid-phase microbiological assay was used to determine the changes in genotoxicity associated with sequestration or biodegradation of carcinogenic compounds in contaminated soils. The concentration of six carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) did not change in 59 d in sterile soil, but the genotoxicity declined markedly. In a soil undergoing bioremediation in the field for 147 d or biodegradation in the laboratory for 180 d, the concentrations either changed little or declined at different rates, but the genotoxicity increased followed by a decline. The genotoxicity of a second soil declined as a result of biological treatment. The data show that genotoxicity of contaminated soils may be unrelated to the concentration of carcinogenic PAHs because of aging or new mutagens formed during biological treatment.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:150–154.