1022-7954/01/3705- $25.00 © 2001
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 37, No. 5, 2001, pp. 500–505. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 37, No. 5, 2001, pp. 617–623.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2001 by Reutova.
The present work is a part of our study on mutagenic
properties of inorganic compounds of heavy metals at
their combined action on different plant test systems
[1–3]. Since environment is typically polluted simulta-
neously by several metals, our studies are focused on the
examination of the interactions between the metals. Our
interests ﬁrst of all concern the group of heavy metals
(Hg, Cu, Ag, and Cd), which, according to the classiﬁca-
tion of Lewis, belong to the group of weak acids and
bases, and are considered to be most toxic to all groups
of organisms .
In this study we present the results of an investiga-
tion of the mutagenic potential of copper. Copper com-
pounds are widely used in the industry, agriculture, and
Copper belongs to the group IB of the Periodic
Table of Elements. By physical and chemical proper-
ties, it is close to silver. However, in contrast to silver,
copper is an essential element for all groups of organ-
isms. Copper compounds gave positive results in the
same mutagenicity tests as silver. In our experience,
mutagenic properties of silver are manifested in plant
test systems in much lower concentrations compared to
other metals [1–3]. For these reasons, comparison of
the two metals with similar properties using identical
test systems and experimental conditions seems inter-
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Experiments were carried out using three plant test
L., Tradescantia (clone 02),
Air-dried seeds of
were placed on a ﬁl-
ter paper, soaked in liquid solutions of chemicals tested.
Seeds germinated in an incubator at 26
C for 42 h. This
treatment time was chosen because we were interested
in the chronic action of low reagent doses, since these
conditions were more close to natural. In addition, we
used these treatment conditions previously in experi-
ments with silver and lead .
Seedlings were thoroughly washed in water, treated
with 0.05% colchicine solution for 2 h, and ﬁxed in an
ethanol–acetic acid mixture (3 : 1). Roots were stained
with acetocarmine, and the short-term squashed prepara-
tions were made according to a standard technique .
clone 02 is heterozygous for ﬂower
color. The blue color is dominant, pink, recessive. The
dominance is complete. A change in color of ﬁlamen-
tous stamen hair cells from blue to pink serves as a vis-
ible marker used in this test system. Appearance of
pink-colored cells can be caused by different genome
alterations including gene and chromosomal mutations,
nondisjunction of chromosomes, and mitotic crossing
over [6–9]. More detailed description of this test sys-
tem is presented in our previous study .
Freshly prepared unrooted cuttings of Tradescantia
clone 02 were treated by immersing ﬂowers in liquid
solutions of chemicals tested for 24 h as described in .
For each variant, 25–30 cuttings were taken. To prevent
drying, the exposed ends of cuttings during treatment
were wrapped in wet tissue. Then the cuttings were
washed in running water and kept in a photostat at 18-
According to the method used, mutation events
were scored daily from day 6 to day 17 after treatment.
The third test system was represented by soybean
(L.) Merrill. The treatment was performed
as described in . Air-dried seeds of soybean (12 to 15 g)
were presoaked for 20 h in running water to initiate
DNA synthesis, and treated in liquid solutions of chem-
icals at room temperature for 24 h. Seeds were germi-
nated for 3 to 4 weeks until two simple leaves and one
compound leaf appeared.
Analysis of the Mutagenic Potential of Copper Compounds
and Modification of Their Effect by Silver Iodide
N. V. Reutova
Kabardino-Balkarian State University, Department of Genetics, Breeding, and Seed Production,
Nal’chik, 360004 Kabardino–Balkarian Republic, Russia; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received March 22, 2000; in ﬁnal form, October 30, 2000
—Mutagenic potential of copper compounds and its alteration in case of the interaction with silver
compounds were analyzed by use of plant test systems. As test systems,
L., Tradescantia clone 02,
and soybean (
(L.) Merrill) were used. Mutagenic properties of copper iodide and copper sulfate
were not detected. CuI, being not a mutagen by itself, remarkably enhanced mutagenic potential of AgI.