Influence of Temperature on Mutagenicity in Plants Exposed to Surface Disinfected Drinking Water


Disinfection of surface drinking water, particularly water chlorination, produces by-products with potential genotoxic and/or carcinogenic activity. A study carried out at a pilot plant for drinking water disinfection of lake water revealed mutagenic activity of three different disinfectants (sodium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide and peracetic acid) in different seasons using in situ mutagenicity assays, both in animal (micronucleus test) and in plant organisms (anaphase chromosomal aberration and micronucleus tests). The effects of the disinfectants appeared to be modulated by the season of exposure. In this study, we tried to understand if (and to what extent) the temperature parameter could actually play an independent role in the registered seasonal variation of mutagenic effects, neglecting the variation of other parameters, e.g. physical conditions and chemical composition of the lake water. Therefore plants (Allium cepa for chromosomal aberration test and Vicia faba for micronucleus test) were exposed to the same disinfected lake-water samples at different temperatures (10℃, 20℃ and 30℃), according the ones registered during the in situ experiment. Long-term expo- sure at the temperatures of 20℃ (both Vicia faba and Allium cepa) and 30℃ (Vicia faba only) to disinfected waters induced clear mutagenic effects. These results show that temperature is an important variable which should be taken into account when in situ exposure of plants is planned for mutagenicity testing. Also, different plant systems clearly show specific temperature ranges suitable for their growth, thereby indicating the need for an accurate selection of the test organism for a specific experimental plan.

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Gustavino, B. , Ceretti, E. , Zani, C. , Zerbini, I. , Rizzoni, M. , Monarca, S. and Feretti, D. (2012) Influence of Temperature on Mutagenicity in Plants Exposed to Surface Disinfected Drinking Water. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 4, 638-647. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2012.48074.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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