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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1981 October; 42(4): 641–648.
PMCID: PMC244076

Mutagenicity testing of some commonly used dyes.


Seventeen commonly used dyes and 16 of their metabolites or derivatives were tested in the Salmonella-mammalian microsome mutagenicity test. Mutagens active with and without added Aroclor-induced rat liver microsome preparations (S9) were 3-aminopyrene, lithol red, methylene blue (USP), methyl yellow, neutral red, and phenol red. Those mutagenic only with S9 activation were 4-aminopyrazolone, 2,4-dimethylaniline, N,N-dimethyl-p-phenylenediamine, methyl red, and 4-phenyl-azo-1-naphthylamine. Orange II was mutagenic only without added S9. Nonmutagenic azo dyes were allura red, amaranth, ponceau R, ponceau SX, sunset yellow, and tartrazine. Miscellaneous dyes not mutagenic were methyl green, methyl violet 2B, and nigrosin. Metabolites of the azo dyes that were not mutagenic were 1-amino-2-naphthol hydrochloride, aniline, anthranilic acid, cresidine salt, pyrazolone T,R-amino salt (1-amino-2-naphthol-3,6-disulfonic disodium salt), R-salt, Schaeffer's salt (2-naphthol-6-sulfonic acid, sodium salt), sodium naphthionate, sulfanilamide, and sulfanilic acid. 4-Amino-1-naphthalenesulfonic acid sodium salt was also not mutagenic. Fusobacterium sp. 2 could reductively cleave methyl yellow to N,N-dimethyl-p-phenylenediamine which was then activated to a mutagen.

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