Evaluation of beta-myrcene, alpha-terpinene and (+)- and (-)-alpha-pinene in the Salmonella/microsome assay

Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 Feb;43(2):247-52. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2004.09.011.


This study was undertaken to investigate the genotoxicity of beta-myrcene, alpha-terpinene and (+) and (-)-alpha-pinene, monoterpenes found in a variety of plant volatile oils. beta-myrcene, alpha-terpinene and alpha-pinene as well as plant oils containing these hydrocarbon monoterpenes have been used as flavoring additives in foods and beverages, as fragrances in cosmetics, and as scent in household products. Mutagenicity was evaluated by the Salmonella/microsome assay (TA100, TA98, TA97a and TA1535 tester strains), without and with addition of an extrinsic metabolic activation system (rat liver S9 fraction induced by Aroclor 1254). Two dose-complementary assays were performed so that a broad range of doses, including a number of regularly-spaced doses in the non-toxic dose interval, were tested. No increase in the number of his+ revertant colonies over the negative control values was observed in any of the four S. typhimurium tester strains. Results from the present study therefore indicated that beta-myrcene, alpha-terpinene, and (+) and (-)-alpha-pinene are not mutagenic in the Ames test.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Animals
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Monoterpenes / toxicity*
  • Mutagenicity Tests / methods*
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • beta-myrcene
  • gamma-terpinene
  • alpha-pinene