Assessment of the performance of the Ames II assay: a collaborative study with 19 coded compounds

Mutat Res. 2004 Mar 14;558(1-2):181-97. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2003.12.001.


Nineteen coded chemicals were tested in an international collaborative study for their mutagenic activity. The assay system employed was the Ames II Mutagenicity Assay, using the tester strains TA98 and TAMix (TA7001-7006). The test compounds were selected from a published study with a large data set from the standard Ames plate-incorporation test. The following test compounds including matched pairs were investigated: cyclophoshamide, 2-naphthylamine, benzo(a)pyrene, pyrene, 2-acetylaminofluorene, 4,4'-methylene-bis(2-chloroaniline), 9,10-dimethylanthracene, anthracene, 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide, diphenylnitrosamine, urethane, isopropyl-N(3-chlorophenyl)carbamate, benzidine, 3,3'-5,5'-tetramethylbenzidine, azoxybenzene, 3-aminotriazole, diethylstilbestrol, sucrose and methionine. The results of both assay systems were compared, and the inter-laboratory consistency of the Ames II test was assessed. Of the eight mutagens selected, six were correctly identified with the Ames II assay by all laboratories, one compound was judged positive by five of six investigators and one by four of six laboratories. All seven non-mutagenic samples were consistently negative in the Ames II assay. Of the four chemicals that gave inconsistent results in the traditional Ames test, three were uniformly classified as either positive or negative in the present study, whereas one compound gave equivocal results. A comparison of the test outcome of the different investigators resulted in an inter-laboratory consistency of 89.5%. Owing to the high concordance between the two test systems, and the low inter-laboratory variability in the Ames II assay results, the Ames II is an effective screening alternative to the standard Ames test, requiring less test material and labor.

MeSH terms

  • International Cooperation*
  • Mutagenicity Tests / standards*
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics*


  • Mutagens