Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design



Committee Chair

Joginder Nath.


The 60 billion gallons of jet propulsion fuels consumed worldwide create an exposure situation to over two million military and civilian personnel per year. The potential mutagenic, genotoxic and cytotoxic potency of military jet fuel was investigated in this study through in vitro systems such as human peripheral lymphocytes and metabolically competent hepatic cell lines. A battery of genotoxicological evaluations is employed, focusing on the comet assay to examine the induction of DNA damage. Cellular exposures to fuel were carried out directly and indirectly with an ethanol (EtOH) carrier. The fuel was found to be nonmutagenic with and without metabolic activation in the Salmonella microsomal mutagenicity assay. Chromosomal aberrations were apparent through a slight but not significant increase in sister chromatid exchanges in peripheral lymphocytes directly exposed to the fuel. DNA damage was induced as a result of fuel exposure as measured by the comet assay in peripheral lymphocytes and cell lines investigated. DNA damage increases with increasing exposure to the fuels and the activation of repair processes was demonstrated. There was no evidence of the formation of bulky aromatic adducts from fuel exposure investigated through P32-postlabeling. However, evaluations of a fuel exposed hepatic cell line via oxidative comet assay showed an increase in DNA damage implying that oxidative mechanism have a role in the genotoxic effects of the fuel. The in vitro evidence of cytotoxic and genotoxic insult as a result of jet fuel exposure presented here, suggest a reevaluation of the fuel components and exposure limits.