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The Allium test as a standard in environmental monitoring



    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Genetics, University of Lund, Sweden
      *Institute of Genetics, University of Lund, S-223 62 Lund. Sweden
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*Institute of Genetics, University of Lund, S-223 62 Lund. Sweden


The Allium test is suggested as a standard in environmental monitoring, e. g. as a part of a test battery. Background, the method including suggested parameters for standard use, results from various application areas and comparisons with a number of other test systems are presented. The Allium test is a short-term test with many advantages: low cost, ease to handle, good chromosome conditions for the study of chromosome damage or disturbance of cell division including the evaluation of risks of aneuploidy. The ability of the root cells to activate promutagens (the MFO-system) further widens the application areas of the Allium test. The use of series of onions for each concentration of the test chemical allows statistical considerations, and from growth curves Effect-Concentration values are obtained. The Allium test is, lastly, a sensitive test showing good correlation to other test systems. Thus, positive results in the Allium test should be considered as a warning and also an indication that the tested chemical may be a risk to human health and to our environment.