Genotoxicity analysis of two hydroxyfuranones, byproducts of water disinfection, in human cells treated in vitro

Danae Liviac, Amadeu Creus, Ricard Marcos

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16 Scopus citations


In general, water for human consumption is chemically disinfected, usually by adding chlorine. As well as producing safe drinking water however, the chlorine treatment, also results in a number of disinfection byproducts (DBPs). One important class of these DBPs is made up of hydroxyfuranones (HFs). In this article, we report the results of a recent investigation to assess the genotoxicity of two HFs, namely mucobromic acid (MBA) and mucochloric acid (MCA), in cultured human cells. The comet assay is used to measure the induction of primary DNA damage and to determine the DNA repair kinetics and the ability of the tested compounds to cause oxidative damage. In addition, the micronucleus (MN) assay is applied to evaluate chromosome damage. The results of the comet assay reveal that both HFs are clearly genotoxic leading to high levels of DNA breaks, and that MBA is more effective than MCA. According to the comet results, the DNA damage induced by MBA repairs well over time, but not the one induced by MCA. Furthermore, HFs produce high levels of oxidized bases. In contrast, the results from the MN assay, which measures the induction of clastogenic and/or aneugenic effects, are mainly negative for the two HFs tested, although MCA is able to increase significantly the frequency of micronuclei in binucleated TK cells, at the concentration of 10 μM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-420
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Comet assay
  • Disinfection byproducts
  • Genotoxicity
  • Hydroxyfuranones
  • Micronucleus assay


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