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Journal of Applied Genetics 48(4), 2007, pp. 409-412

The use of the Vibrio harveyi luminescence mutagenicity assay as a rapid test for preliminary assessment of mutagenic pollution of marine sediments

Beata Podgorska, Ksenia Pazdro, Grzegorz Wegrzyn

Abstract: Mutagenic pollution of the natural environment is currently one of the most serious environmental problems. It includes the pollution of marine sediments. Therefore, rapid detection of the presence of mutagens is an important issue. Recently, we have developed a novel microbiological assay for rapid assessment of mutagenicity of samples from the natural environment. This assay is based on bioluminescence of a mutant Vibrio harveyi strain, and was shown to be useful in testing samples of marine water and plant tissues. Here we demonstrate the usefulness of this assay in preliminary assessment of mutagenic pollution of marine sediments. Mutagenicity of environmental samples taken from the Baltic Sea, is documented and compared here with a commercially available standard sediment sample (IAEA 383), which contains known amounts of mutagenic compounds. The whole procedure, from obtaining a sample in the laboratory to getting final results, is very short (less than 4 h).

Key words: bioluminescence, dim mutants, marine sediments, microbiological mutagenicity assay, mutagenic pollution, Vibrio harveyi.

Correspondence: G. Wegrzyn, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Gdansk, Kladki 24, 80-822 Gdansk, Poland; e-mail:

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