Evaluation of genotoxic potential in the Velika Morava River Basin in vitro and in situ

Sci Total Environ. 2018 Apr 15;621:1289-1299. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.099. Epub 2017 Oct 19.


The Velika Morava River is the greatest national Serbian river and the significant tributary of the Danube River. The major problems in the Velika Morava River Basin (VMRB) represent untreated industrial and municipal wastewaters. In this study, the level of genotoxic potential at the sites along the VMRB was evaluated by parallel in vitro and in situ approach. Within in vitro testing, genotoxicity of native water samples collected from the sites in VMRB was evaluated by SOS/umuC test on Salmonella typhimurium TA1535/pSK1002 and by the comet assay on HepG2 cells. DNA damage in situ was assessed in bleak (Alburnus alburnus) erythrocytes by the comet (alkaline and Fpg-modified comet) and micronucleus assays. Additionally, the concentration of heavy metals in fish tissue was measured and this data, compiled with the data of the physico-chemical parameters measured in water, was used as a measure of the pollution pressure at the sites. Results showed that applied in vitro tests with native water samples are less sensitive in comparison with in situ tests and should be taken with precaution when making predictions on the status of the ecosystem. Within applied battery of in situ assays differential sensitivity of assays was observed where alkaline comet assay showed the highest potential in differentiation of the sites based on genotoxic potential. Integrated biomarker response showed that usage of the battery of bioassays provides better insight in a genotoxic effects in animals, and consequently, that the holistic approach is more suitable for this type of study.

Keywords: Alburnus alburnus; Comet assay; Eco/genotoxicity; HepG2 cells; SOS/umuC; The Velika Morava River.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Comet Assay
  • Cyprinidae
  • DNA Damage
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Rivers / chemistry*
  • Serbia
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical