Environmental pollution is a matter of great concern. Therefore, researches that aim to access the risk of toxicity of these potential pollutants are welcome in the scientific community. The most common strategy to detect toxic agents is through chemical analysis. However, in the last years, the biological assays are often important for risk assessments. Among the bioassays using living organisms to detect toxicity of a compound, plant models have been highlighted as it is easy to be conducted, has low cost, high sensitivity and presents good correlation with other test systems, including mammals. Besides, it is in accordance with the Toxicology Guidelines for the twenty-first century, which claims for bioassays that could substitute the ones that use animals as models. At cellular level, the cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and mutagenicity are the parameters determined by the endpoints as mitotic index, DNA fragmentation, induction of cell death, and malfunction of cellular structures leading to chromosome and cell cycle alterations. Each of these endpoints will be presented in details in this chapter.
Part of the book: Cytotoxicity