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Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS)

May, Jennifer; Robinson, Gareth; Thorn, Robin; Reynolds, Darren


Jennifer May
Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science

Gareth Robinson
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology

Robin Thorn
Associate Professor Molecular Life Sciences


Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) are of interest as potential disinfectants due to high biocidal activity against many microorganisms. They are widely used clinically in some countries (decontamination of surgical instruments and wounds), and non clinically (washing vegetables), with no known ill-effects. Cytotoxicity tests have generally been negative; however, some solutions have not been thoroughly investigated. Additionally, genotoxicity has not been investigated, thus forming the basis of this study. ECAS was produced by electrolysis of 10% (w/v) sodium chloride solution [1]. Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity to TK6 cells were tested using increasing concentrations of ECAS (0.1%-25% v/v), for up to 24hrs. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by trypan blue, and genotoxicity by the comet and micronucleus assays. Initial results suggest low ECAS concentrations (≤5%) over 5 mins do not cause considerable cytotoxicity (>70% cell viability), however decreasing to < 30% viability with 25% ECAS. Interestingly, DNA damage measured by the comet assay was increased at all ECAS concentrations from 5 min exposure onwards. In conclusion, evidence of both cytotoxic and genotoxic effects was seen, even at low ECAS concentrations and short incubations. Current work is evaluating these effects compared with toxicities of other disinfectants such as bleach.


May, J., Robinson, G., Thorn, R., & Reynolds, D. (2017). Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS). Mutagenesis, 32(6), 622-623.

Journal Article Type Meeting Abstract
Conference Name 40th Annual Meeting of the United Kingdom Environmental Mutagen Society
Acceptance Date May 6, 2017
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2018
Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2020
Print ISSN 0267-8357
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 6
Pages 622-623
Public URL