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Title:Routine water monitoring test for mutagenic compounds
Author(s):Johnston, James B.; Herren, James N.
Contributor(s):University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Water resource development
Water resource development--Illinois
Public health
Ames assay
Parfait/distillation method
Potable water
Surface waters
Geographic Coverage:Illinois (state)
Abstract:We have developed a simple, relatively comprehensive method for the recovery of nonvolatile mutagenic compounds from surface waters. The method recovers compounds by sequential passage of the water sample through a silica gel bed (to mechanically filter the sample and to adsorb water-insoluble compounds such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons), then a cation-exchange bed (to adsorb cationic and amphoteric compounds), and then an anion-exchange bed-all contained in a single multi-bed column of glass and teflon, the parfait column. Nonvolatile compounds not adsorbed to any of these beds (i.e., neutral, water soluble compounds) were recovered following concentration of the column effluent by vacuum distillation at < 30˚. The beds of the parfait column were separated and eluted independently. Water-soluble ionic compounds were eluted with 2 M triethylammonium carbonate, and hydrophobic compounds were eluted with acetone. Under vacuum, the acetone or the components of the triethylammonium carbonate buffer (triethylamine and C02) were removed, leaving the nonvolatile components of the water sample in the residue. Acetone residues were taken up in dimethylsulfoxide; the others were taken up S n water. Using the Ames Salmonella/microsome reversion assay, each residue was assayed for mutagenic activity. The method was evaluated by recovery of five known mutagens, benzo(a)pyrene, 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide, ethidium bromide, nitrofurylfuramide, and sodium azide, each initially spiked into a sample of laboratory deionized water and an environmental water sample to a final concentration of less than 3 ppb. Recoveries were calculated from the mutagenic activity observed in the extracts, in comparison to the activity in parallel extracts of an unspiked water sample. Under these conditions, the parfait/distillation method was able to recover detectable mutagenic activity with three of the five mutagens tested. The method has been used to survey ten Illinois surface waters for naturally occurring mutagenic activity. Samples from two sites, the Fox River at Aurora, Illinois, and the Salt Fork Creek at Urbana, Illinois, showed significant mutagenic activity. The parfait distillation method differs from other techniques for the recovery of waterborne mutagens in its emphasis on the recovery of nonvolatile compounds and neutral water-soluble compounds. This method has a1 so detected significant mutagenic activity in samples as small as 2 gallons of water, a volume consumed by a normal person every few days. This study represents the first step in the development of a routine method for the assay of mutagens in drinking water and drinking water supplies. The results of this study and the strong correlation of mutagenic activity to carcinogenic potential raises the possibility that compounds present in surface waters may pose a chronic threat to the public's health.
Issue Date:1979-05
Publisher:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Water Resources Center
Genre:Report (Grant or Annual)
Sponsor:U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Rights Information:Copyright 1979 held by James B. Johnston, James N. Herron
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-06-13

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