The effects of pH on the mutagenic activity of several chemicals were evaluated in the standard Ames Salmonella typhimurium plate-incorporation assay. The pH of the base agar was varied between 6.0 and 8.0. The positive control compounds routinely used in this laboratory, 2-aminoanthracene, 4-nitro-o-phenylenediamine, sodium azide and nitrofurantoin, showed increasing mutagenic activity as the pH was decreased to 6.0. However, the activity of two weakly mutagenic cosmetic ingredients, 2,2′,4,4′-tetrahydroxybenzophenone and trans-4-phenyl-3-buten-2-one, was completely eliminated at pH levels near 6.0. It is concluded that plates poured with agar with pH levels below 7.0 can result in strong responses for the positive control chemicals but give negative results for some mutagens. © 1985.
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