Physical factors affecting the mutagenicity of fly ash from a coal-fired power plant

Science  25 May 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4395, pp. 879-881
DOI: 10.1126/science.375394


The two finest, most respirable coal fly ash fractions collected from the smokestack of a power plant were more mutagenic than two coarser fractions. Mutagenicity was evaluated in the histidine-requiring bacterial strains TA 1538, TA 98, and TA 100 of Salmonella typhimurium. Ash samples collected from the hoppers of an electrostatic precipitator in the plant were not mutagenic. The mutagens in coal fly ash were resistant to x-ray or ultraviolet irradiation, possibly as a result of stabilization by fly ash surfaces. All mutagenic activity is lost with heating to 350 degrees C.