We have been exposing bacterial cells to alkanes (C8, C10, C12),
tetramethylpentadecane, and complex lubricating oils as part of a larger set of
mutagenicity assays. We are finding that these compounds all elicit a
mutagenic response (they induce reversion in the cells).
I believe that the response is not being directly induced by the compounds (I
do not know about the oils) but rather that these chemicals are somehow
interfering with normal cell repair mechanisms. The cells are exhibiting
damage induced by other mutagens in their environment, not from the alkanes
directly. I have no suggestion as to how the compounds affect cell repair.
If anyone has comments on my hypothesis, be they from lab experience or
literature, or if you have other ideas I would appreciate receiving them.
Please respond by e-mail.
Graduate Field of Environmental Toxicology
aq12 at cornell.edu