A study was conducted to determine the antimutagenic and antitoxic effects exerted by humic substances (HSs) of different origin (Mollisols, leonardite, river sediments, peat, aquatic sediments, hill soils and alluvial soils) on eleven plant species (Vicia faba, Allium cepa, Pisum sativum, Triticum turgidum var. durum [T. durum], Phaseolus vulgaris, Brassica napus var. oleifera, Sinapis alba, Linum usitatissimum, Lycopersicon esculentum, Cucumis melo and Helianthus annuus) treated with different mutagenic and phytotoxic compounds (maleic hydrazide, colchicine, alachlor, 2,4-D and glyphosate). Results showed that the HSs samples have an apparent antimutagenic action in the plant species which differs in intensity and type of genetic damage that is reduced as a function of the source and dose of HS applied, plant species and mutagen used. The largest antimutagenic effect was obtained for HS of aquatic, peat and leonardite sources in V. faba and A. cepa treated with mutagen maleic hydrazide. HSs also appear to possess an antitoxic activity that is apparent in the attenuation of plant growth depression caused by alachlor and maleic hydrazide. Peat and leonardite HSs also yield the best results for the antitoxic activity.
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