Miral 500 CS (CAS# 42509-80-8), an organophosphorus insecticide, has been widely used in Columbia to fumigate coffee plantations. Therefore, there is extensive human exposure to this pesticide. Miral's mutagenic and genotoxic activities, however, are not known. In this study, such activities of the pesticide were evaluated using the Salmonella TA98/S9 test and the chromosome aberration assay in bone marrow cells of Swiss albino CD1 male mice. All doses tested with Salmonella in the presence of S9 mix (3.2, 16, 80, 400 and 2000 micrograms/plate) induced a mutagenic response that was three times the spontaneous mutation frequency. The mutagenic response without S9 was twice the spontaneous frequency. Based on a 4-day treatment (i.p.) of mice with Miral, the median lethal dose (LD50) and the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) were 912.5 mg/kg and 730 mg/kg, respectively. A significant dose-dependent cell cycle delay (r2 = 0.85, p < 0.01) was observed in bone marrow cells when mice were treated for 24 h with 73, 146, 219, 292, 365, 438, 511, 584, 657 and 730 mg/kg. Significant increase in mitotic indices (p < 0.02) and chromosome aberrations (p < 0.05) were induced in bone marrow cells, when mice were treated for 18 h with the highest dose 511 mg/kg. Our results indicate that Miral is a mutagenic compound in Salmonella and is capable of inducing chromosome aberrations at high doses in mice. Additional genotoxicity studies in farmers exposed to Miral should be conducted to determine the potential human health risk resulting from chronic low-dose exposures to this pesticide.
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