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Baderna D.,Aboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology | Colombo A.,Aboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology | Romeo M.,Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri | Cambria F.,Aboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2014

Soil quality is traditionally evaluated by chemical characterization to determine levels of pollutants. Biological tools are now employed for soil monitoring since they can take account of the global biological effects induced by all xenobiotics. A combined monitoring of soils based on chemical analyses, human-related in vitro models and ecotoxicological assay was applied in the Lomellina, a semirural area of northern Italy. Chemical characterization indicated overall good quality of the soils, with low levels of toxic and carcinogenic pollutants such as heavy metals, PAHs, PCDD/Fs and PCBs. HepG2 cells were used as a model for the human liver and BALB/c 3T3 cells to evaluate carcinogenic potential. Cells were treated with soil extractable organic matter (EOM) and the MTS assay, DNA release and morphological transformation were selected as endpoints for toxicity and carcinogenicity. Soil EOMs induced dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth at low doses and cytotoxicity only at doses of 500 and 1000. mg soil equivalents/ml. Potential issues for human health can be hypothesized after ingestion of soil samples from some sites. No statistically significant inductions of foci were recorded after exposure to EOMs, indicating that the levels of the soil-extracted organic pollutants were too low to induce carcinogenesis in our experimental conditions. An acute phytotoxicity test and studies on Caenorhabditis elegans were used as ecotoxicological assays for plants and small invertebrates. No significant alerts for ecotoxicity were found.In this proposed case study, HepG2 cells detected differences in the toxicity of soil EOMs, indicating that this cell line could be appropriate to assess the potential harm caused by the ingestion of contaminated soil. Additional information on the carcinogenic potential of mixtures was provided by the cell transformation assay, strengthening the combined approach. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

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