Genotoxic Activity of Glyphosate and Its Technical Formulation Roundup

Claudia Bolognesi, Stefania Bonatti, Paolo Degan, Elena Gallerani, Marco Peluso, Roberta Rabboni, Paola Roggieri, Angelo Abbondandolo

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Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethylglycine) is an effective herbicide acting on the synthesis of aromatic amino acids in plants. The genotoxic potential of this herbicide has been studied: the results available in the open literature reveal a weak activity of the technical formulation. In this study, the formulated commercial product, Roundup, and its active agent, glyphosate, were tested in the same battery of assays for the induction of DNA damage and chromosomal effects in vivo and in vitro. Swiss CD1 mice were treated intraperitoneally with test substances, and the DNA damage was evaluated by alkaline elution technique and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) quantification in liver and kidney. The chromosomal damage of the two pesticide preparations was also evaluated in vivo in bone marrow of mice as micronuclei frequency and in vitro in human lymphocyte culture as SCE frequency. A DNA-damaging activity as DNA single-strand breaks and 8-OHdG and a significant increase in chromosomal alterations were observed with both substances in vivo and in vitro. A weak increment of the genotoxic activity was evident using the technical formulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1957-1962
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1997


  • Alkaline elution
  • DNA oxidative damage
  • In vitro genotoxicity
  • In vivo genotoxicity
  • Micronucleus test
  • Pesticides
  • SCE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)


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