• Teodora Koynova Faculty of Natural Sciences, Konstantin Preslavski University of Shumen, Shumen
  • Asya Dragoeva Faculty of Natural Sciences, Konstantin Preslavski University of Shumen, Shumen
  • Vanya Koleva Faculty of Natural Sciences, Konstantin Preslavski University of Shumen, Shumen
Keywords: air pollution, snow contaminants, cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, Allium cepa test


The presence of atmospheric pollutants is regularly screened in Bulgaria. However, studies on the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of air contaminants are scarce. Snow collects pollutants from the air. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of melted snow samples from Shumen region (Bulgaria) on mitotic cells using the A. cepa test.

Samples were taken from three open spaces: 1) the city of Shumen, 2) a meadow on the Shumen plateau and 3) agricultural land located about 9.5 km northeast of the town of Shumen.

The samples from the Shumen city and Shumen plateau indicated the presence of water soluble cytotoxic compounds. The lack of cytotoxicity in the sample from the agricultural land was established. This proves an anthropogenic origin of cytotoxic pollutions at the other two places. These results could serve as warning signals for health preventive programs regarding air quality in Shumen and the Nature Park Shumen plateau during the winter.


Blagojević, J., Stamenković, G., & Vujoševic, M. (2009). Potential genotoxic effects of melted snow from an urban area revealed by the Allium cepa test. Chemosphere, 76, 1344-1347.

Cai, M., Xin, Z., & Yu, X. (2017). Spatio-temporal variations in PM leaf deposition: A meta-analysis. Environmental Pollution, 231, 207-218.

Calderon-Garciduenas, L., Azzarelli, B., Acuna, H., Garcıa, R., Gambling, T.M., Osnaya, N., Monroy, S., Tizapantzi, M.-R., Carson, J.L., Villarreal-Calderon, A., & Rewcastle, B. (2002). Air pollution and brain damage. Toxicologic Pathology, 30, 373-389.

EPA (2017). Particulate Matter (PM10) Trends Retrieved from:

Fiskesjö, G. (1993). The Allium test in wastewater monitoring. Environmental Toxicology, 8(3), 291-298.

Grant, W. F. (1978). Chromosome Aberrations in Plants as a Monitoring System. Environmental Health Perspectives, 27, 37-43.

Hudson, R., Arriola, A., Martinez-Gomez, M., & Distel, H. (2006). Effect of Air pollution on olfactory function in residents of Mexico City. Chemical Senses, 31, 79-85.

Lei, Y. D., & Wania, F. (2004). Is rain or snow a more efficient scavenger of organic chemicals? Atmospheric Environment, 38, 3557-3571

Leme, D.M. and Marin-Morales, M.A. (2009). Allium cepa test in environmental monitoring: a review on its application. Mutation Research, 682:71-81.

Levan, A. (1938). The effect of colchicine on root mitoses in Allium. Hereditas, 24, 471-486.

Majer, B. J., Grummt, T., Uhl, M., Knasmuler, & S. (2005). Use of plant bioassays for the detection of genotoxins in the aquatic environment. Acta Hydroch. Hydrob., 33, 45-55.

Rai, P. K. (2016). Impacts of particulate matter pollution on plants: Implications for environmental biomonitoring. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 129, 120-36.

Rank, J. (2003). The Method of Allium Anaphase-Telophase Chromosome Aberration Assay. Ekologija Vilnius, 1, 38-42

Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water Shumen. (2016). Regional Report on the state of the environment in 2016. Retrieved from:

Samet, J., & Krewski, D. (2007). Health effects associated with exposure to ambient air pollution. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 70, 227-242.

Tedesco, S. B., & Laughinghouse IV, H. D. (2012). Bioindicator of Genotoxicity: The Allium cepa Test. Environmental Contamination. Srivastava J., (Ed.), InTech, pp. 137-156.