Editor's Choice Article for January 2016

Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis Editor's Choice - January 2016

The Editor's Choice for January is "Potent Mutagenicity in the Ames Test of 2-Cyano-4-Nitroaniline and 2,6-Dicyano-4-Nitroaniline, Components of Disperse Dyes" by P. David Josephy, Muhammad Zahid, Joban Dhanoa, Giovanna Brondino Duarte de Souza, Hilary Groom, and Meghan Lambie.

Azo dyes are a large class of synthetic colorings used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industry. The introduction of cyano groups in the 2- and 6- positions, through replacement of halogens with metal cyanides, expanded the range of commercially-available azo disperse dyes, which are used mainly in the dyeing of synthetic fabrics, such as polyester. However, it remains unknown whether the cyano groups modify the toxicity of the disperse azo dyes. In their Editor’s Choice article, Josephy et al. investigated the mutagenicity of two components of disperse azo dyes, 2-cyano-4-nitroaniline (CNNA) and 2,6-dicyano-4-nitroaniline (CNCNNA), in various Ames tester strains. The investigators noted that in a tester strain sensitive to frameshift mutagens, the mutagenic potencies of the two chemicals were orders of magnitude greater than those of their structural analogues such as dihalonitroanilines and halodinitroanilines. By comparing the mutagenicity of several structurally related compounds, Josephy et al. were able to ascribe the extraordinary mutagenic potencies of CNNA and CNCNNA to the interaction of all the functional groups on the benzene ring. This Editor’s Choice article, therefore, alerts researchers to the possibility that interactions between functional groups, which individually have no structural alert for mutagenicity, can greatly increase the mutagenicity of disperse dyes. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 57:10-16, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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