Comparison of mutagenicity and calf thymus DNA adducts formed by the particulate and semivolatile fractions of vehicle exhausts

Sanna K. Pohjola (Corresponding Author), Maija Lappi, Markku Honkanen, Kirsti Savela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we compared the ability of extractable organic material from particulate and semivolatile fractions of gasoline emission to induce mutations in bacteria and form adducts with calf thymus (CT) DNA with corresponding data obtained from diesel exhaust. Exhaust particles from gasoline‐powered passenger cars were collected on filters and semivolatile compounds were collected on polyurethane foam (PUF). The mutagenicity of the soluble organic fraction (SOF) was determined in Salmonella typhimurium strain TA98 and the DNA binding of aromatic compounds in the extracts was assessed by in vitro incubations with CT DNA and rat liver S9 (oxidative activation) or xanthine oxidase (reductive activation) followed by butanol‐enhanced 32P‐postlabeling analysis. Semivolatile fractions of gasoline emission collected on PUF formed more CT DNA adducts than filter extracts under all reaction conditions, but showed a lower mutagenic potential than the corresponding particulate samples. This suggests that the capacity of PUF to collect exhaust particle‐derived compounds and/or the efficiency of xanthine oxidase and enzymes in the rat liver S9 to activate these compounds to DNA binding metabolites was higher than expected. Gasoline extracts, benzo[a]pyrene and diesel particulate matter (SRM 1650) formed more S9‐mediated DNA adducts as their dose increased, although a linear dose–response was not observed for the gasoline exhausts. Lower concentrations of gasoline and diesel extracts bound to DNA with greater efficiency than did 8‐fold higher doses, suggesting complex interactions and/or an inhibition of S9 enzyme activities by the high doses. Diesel extracts formed higher levels of adducts than gasoline extracts, especially with the reductive activation system, suggesting that diesel extracts contain high levels of nitro‐polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro‐PAHs). The higher direct‐acting Salmonella mutagenicity in diesel extracts in comparison with gasoline extracts is consistent with diesel extracts containing higher concentrations of nitro‐PAHs. The results of this study indicate that diesel extracts are more mutagenic and form more DNA adducts than gasoline extracts and that the effects of extract dose on DNA adduct formation are complex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • PAH
  • mutagenicity
  • DNA adducts
  • 32P-postlabeling
  • gasoline
  • diesel
  • particulate
  • semivolatile fraction


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