Safrole, eugenol and methyleugenol induce intrachromosomal recombination in yeast

Mutat Res. 1989 Dec;224(4):427-36. doi: 10.1016/0165-1218(89)90067-0.


Deletion of an integrated plasmid, a specific type of intrachromosomal recombination, was evaluated for inducibility with the phenylpropenes safrole, eugenol and methyleugenol in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These phenylpropenes are found in food products, spices, pharmaceuticals and clove cigarettes. Safrole and eugenol are known carcinogens in animals and methyleugenol is a suspected carcinogen. These phenylpropenes are not detectable by the Ames assay and most other short-term tests used currently in predictive carcinogenesis. Like safrole, which has been shown to be nonmutagenic with the Ames assay, eugenol and methyleugenol were found to be nonmutagenic with the Ames assay. In contrast, with the yeast assays which screen for intra- and inter-chromosomal recombination in logarithmic phase cultures, all 3 compounds gave a positive dose-related response. These results demonstrate further that the yeast system can be modified easily to detect various genetic endpoints and that it deserves serious consideration as a test system for predictive carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine
  • Chromosomes / physiology
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Dioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Eugenol / pharmacology*
  • Histidine
  • Mutagenicity Tests / methods*
  • Plasmids
  • Recombination, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Safrole / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Dioxoles
  • methyleugenol
  • Eugenol
  • Histidine
  • Adenine
  • Safrole