The yield of His+ reversions in the Ames Salmonella tester strain TA2638 has been determined for 60Co γ rays, 140 kV X rays, 5.4 keV characteristic X rays, 2.2 MeV protons, 3.1 MeV α particles, and 18 MeV/U Fe ions. Inactivation studies were performed with the same radiations. For both mutation and inactivation, the maximum effectiveness per unit absorbed dose was obtained for the characteristic X rays, which have a dose averaged linear energy transfer (LET) of roughly 10 keV/μm. The ratio of the effectiveness of this radiation to ? rays was 2 for inactivation and about 1.4 for the his+ reversion. For both end points the effectiveness decreases substantially at high LET, i.e., for the α particles and the Fe ions. The composition of the bottom and the top agar was the one recommended by Maron and Ames [Mutat. Res. 113, 173-215 (1983)] for application in chemical mutagenicity tests. The experiments with the less penetrating radiations differed from the usual protocol by utilization of a technique of plating the bacteria on the surface of the top agar. As in an earlier study [Roos et al., Radiat. Res. 104, 102-108 (1985)] greatly enhanced yields of mutations, relative to the spontaneous reversion rate, were obtained in these experiments by performing the irradiations 6 h after plating, which differs from the conventional procedure to irradiate the bacteria shortly after plating.

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