A Biochemical Phage Induction Assay for Carcinogens

  • Rosalie K. Elespuru
Conference paper
Part of the Topics in Environmental Physiology and Medicine book series (TEPHY)


Bacteriophage induction assays have been used periodically for many years as detection systems for agents with potential carcinogenic or cancer inhibiting properties (Lwoff, 1953; Endo et al., 1963a,b; Price et al., 1964; Geissler, 1967; Fleck, 1968, 1974). In the early seventies, a summary of the available experimental data (Heinemann, 1971) indicated that phage induction correlated reasonably well with antitumor properties but somewhat less well with the carcinogenic properties of the chemicals tested. Bacterial assays became much more practical after the introduction of mammalian enzyme activating systems and bacterial strains with increased sensitivity to chemicals (Ames et al., 1975). Many carcinogens previously missed in bacterial assays could then be detected as mutagens in Salmonella typhimurium (McCann et al., (1975). A bacteriophage lambda induction assay for carcinogens utilizing a sensitive strain of E. coli has recently been described (Moreau et al., 1976; Moreau and Devoret, 1977). A number of carcinogens, including aflatoxins, polycyclic hydrocarbons, and aromatic amines, were shown to induce bacteriophage lambda in this system. These results encouraged the further development of phage induction assays for screening of chemicals.


Spot Test Bacteriophage Lambda Thin Layer Plate Polycyclic Hydrocarbon Induction Assay 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1981

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  • Rosalie K. Elespuru

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