Aqueous wood preserving waste (WPW) extracts were tested for their ability to damage DNA in vitro without metabolic activation. Two extracts were prepared from a surface tar and a surface clay soil sample of a WPW site. As assayed by 32P-post-labelling, incubation of DNA with these extracts gave rise to highly complex, extract-specific profiles of DNA adducts whose formation depended on the concentration of WPW material. Most of the adducts appeared to be derived from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Three mg organic WPW residue gave rise to total adduct levels of 13.8 (extract 1) and 66.2 (extract 2) DNA modifications in 107 DNA nucleotides, corresponding to 13.9 and 26.9 modifications, respectively, per 10 mg of soil. Thus, extract 2 was more active, although the parent residue had a 1.4-times lower PAH content as determined by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). DNA adduct formation presumably was a consequence of (i) free radical reactions, possibly involving semiquinones and oxygen free radicals, and (ii) reaction of direct-acting electrophiles, derived from metabolism of WPW toxicants by soil microorganisms. These reactions appeared to be more active in sample 2. The results suggest that ground water at WPW sites contains DNA-reactive compounds posing a cancer hazard to humans. The in vitro DNA adduct assay represents a novel tool to readily assess this type of hazard and the possible effects of remediation measures.
- DNA adduct
- Radical and direct-acting toxicant
- Risk assessment
- Wood preserving waste extract
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research