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Blue rayon (BR) in combination with the Salmonella/microsome assay was used to evaluate the mutagenicity of fish bile samples. Specimens of Mugil curema from two sites were collected over a 1-year period. Piaçaguera channel contains high concentrations of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other contaminants, while Bertioga channel was considered the reference sites in this study. Bile was extracted with BR and tested with TA98, TA100, and YG1041 strains with and without S9 in dose response experiments. PAH metabolite equivalents were analyzed using reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography /fluorescence. Higher mutagenic responses were observed for the contaminated site; YG1041 with S9 was the most sensitive strain/condition. Mutagenicity ranged from 3,900 to 14,000 rev./mg at the contaminated site and from 1,200 to 2,500 rev./mg of BR at the reference site. The responses of YG1041 were much higher in comparison with the TA98 indicating the presence of polycyclic compounds from the aromatic amine class that cause frameshift mutation. TA100 showed a positive mutagenic response that was enhanced following S9 treatment at both sites suggesting the presence of polycyclic compounds that require metabolic activation. benzo(a)pyrene, naphthalene, and phenanthrene metabolite equivalents were also higher in the bile of fish collected at the contaminated site. It was not possible to correlate the PAH metabolite quantities with the mutagenic potency. Thus, a combination of the Salmonella/microsome assay with YG1041 with S9 from BR bile extract seems to be an acceptable biomarker for monitoring the exposure of fish to mutagenic polycyclic compounds. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 51:173–179, 2010.