The beta-alkyl substituted acrolein congeners crotonaldehyde, trans-2-pentenal, trans-2-hexenal, 2,4-hexadienal, and trans-2-heptenal were clearly mutagenic in a slightly modified preincubation Ames test with Salmonella typhimurium TA100 with and without S9 mix using a threefold bacterial cell density and a 90-min preincubation time, whereas trans-cis-2,6-nonadienal did not show any mutagenic activity. The greatest impediment to adequate mutagenicity testing of these compounds is their toxicity toward bacteria. Within the congener family tested, toxicity increases as a function of both chain length and lipophilicity, and it becomes more and more difficult to demonstrate mutagenicity. Mutagenicity decreases with increasing chain length. This effect may be explained by increasing toxicity. The effect of S9 mix seems to be mostly nonenzymatic detoxication by nonspecific scavanger protection of bacterial cytotoxicity. No indication could be found that bioactivation plays a role in S9-mediated reduction of bacterial cytotoxicity. Although positive mutagenic outcomes could be obtained with the SOS chromotest for other alpha, beta-unsaturated carbonyl compounds, these acrolein congeners were not genotoxic in this test, most probably because they are toxic for the Escherichia coli bacteria PQ37 and PQ243.