Using macro analysis of root growth parameters and micro assay of the root tip meristems through the estimation of the mitotic indices and aberrant cells of Allium cepa root meristems, a study was conducted on three Pharmaceutical effluents discharged into agricultural lands. The chemical analysis of the effluents showed the presence of some potential mutagenic heavy metals (Pb, Cu and Zn) and Cyanide. The experimental design was a factorial in completely randomized design (CRD). The results obtained showed significant reduction in the number of roots and the length of roots grown on the effluents and their dilutions. Highly reduced cell reproduction was observed in all the effluents. The mitotic index (MI) ranged from 49.2 - 2.95, 52.6 - 1.77 and 48.8 - 2.63 in Jutrim, Flu-J and Ampiclox effluents, respctively. Both concentration of the effluents and treatment time had significant effect on the mitotic index. The MI as a percentage of the control at undiluted effluent concentrations and at 24 h exposure time were below 22% of the control value ranging from 6.02, 3.6 and 5.4% in Jutrim, Flu-J and Ampiclox effluents, respectively. Aberrant cells oberved ranged from a mild C-mitotic effect to anaphase bridge and even an induction of multiple nuclei in a cell. The effects of the cytotoxic and genotoxic substances in these wastewaters discharged into the environment on biolife are discussed in this report.
Key words: Mutagenicity, pharmaceutical effluents, mitotic index, Allium cepa.
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