Genotoxic effects of three Fusarium mycotoxins, fumonisin B1, moniliformin and vomitoxin in bacteria and in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes

Siegfried Knasmüller, Nikolaus Bresgen, Fekadu Kassie, Volker Mersch-Sundermann, Wentzel Gelderblom, Edith Zöhrer, Peter M. Eckl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The genotoxic effects of three widespread Fusarium toxins, vomitoxin (VOM), moniliformin (MON) and fumonisin B1 (FB1) were investigated in bacterial tests and in micronucleus (MN) and chromosomal aberration (CA) assays with primary rat hepatocytes. All three toxins were devoid of activity in gene mutation assays with Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 and in SOS chromotests with E. coli strain PQ37 in the presence and absence of metabolic activation. FB1 and VOM gave negative results in differential DNA repair assays with E. coli K-12 strains (343/753, uvrB/recA and 343/765, uvr+/rec+); with MON, a marginal effect was seen in the absence of metabolic activation mix at relatively high concentrations (≤ 55 μg/ml). In metabolically competent rat hepatocytes stimulated to proliferate with EGF and subphysiological Ca2+ concentrations, a decrease of cell division was observed with all three toxins at concentrations ≤ 10 μg/ml, VOM was strongly cytotoxic at 100 μg/ml. All three mycotoxins caused moderate increases of the MN frequencies at low concentrations (≤ 1 μg/ml), but no clear dose-response effects were seen and at higher exposure levels the MN frequencies declined, In the CA experiments with hepatocytes, pronounced dose-dependent effects were observed with all three toxins. MON caused a 9-fold increase over the spontaneous background level after exposure of the cells to 1 μg/ml for 3 h, with FB1 and VOM, the increases were 6- to 7-fold under identical experimental conditions. This is the first report on clastogenic effects of VOM and FB1 in mammalian cells, with MON induction of CAs in V-79 cells has been described earlier. Since all three mycotoxins caused CAs at very low concentration levels in liver cells in vitro, it is possible that such effects may also occur in humans and mammals upon consumption of Fusarium-infected cereals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 13 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful to R. Schulte-Hermann (University of Vienna) for continuous encouragement and discussions. Part of the experimental work was sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Health, the Austrian Science Foundation Grant P6726M and the Research Funds of the Faculty of Clin. Mannheim.


  • Bacterial mutagenicity test
  • Chromosomal aberration
  • Fumonisin B
  • Moniliformin
  • Mutagenicity
  • Primary rat liver cell
  • Vomitoxin


Dive into the research topics of 'Genotoxic effects of three Fusarium mycotoxins, fumonisin B<sub>1</sub>, moniliformin and vomitoxin in bacteria and in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this