Results and recommendations
In the first phase of a collaborative study by the International Programme on Chemical Safety (PRCS), four coded chemicals, i.e. azidoglycerol (AG, 3-azido-1,2-propanediol), methyl nitrosurea (MNU), sodium azide (NaN3) and maleic hydrazide (MH), and ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) as a positive control were tested in four plant bioassays, namely the Arabidopsis embryo and chlorophyll mutation assay, the Tradescantia stamen hair assay (Trad-SH assay), the Tradescantia micronucleus assay (Trade-MCN), and the Vicia faba root tip assay. Seventeen laboratories from diverse regions of the world participated with four to six laboratories each using one plant assay. For the Arabidopsis assay, laboratories were in agreement with MNU and AG giving positive responses and NaN3 giving a negative response. With the exception of one laboratory which reported MH as weakly mutagenic, no mutagenic response was reported for MH by the other laboratories. For the Vicia faba assay, all laboratories reported a positive response for MNU, AG, and MH, whereas two of the six laboratories reported a negative response for NaN3. For the Trad-SH assay, MH was reported as giving a positive response and a positive response was also observed for MNU with the exception of one laboratory. NaN3, which exhibited a relatively high degree of toxicity, elicited a positive response in three of the five laboratories. AG was found positive in only one of the two laboratories which tested this chemical. For the Trad-MCN assay, MNU and MH were reported as positive by all laboratories, while four out of five laboratories reported NaN3 to be positive. Only one of three laboratories reported AG to be positive. The major sources of variability were identified and considered to be in the same range as found in similar studies on other test systems. Recommendations were made for minor changes in methodology and for initiating the second phase of this study.