Evaluation of the antigenotoxic potential of fresh bovine whey in onion meristematic roots exposed to Quizalofop-P-tefuryl


  • Florica Colă Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, University of Craiova, Faculty of Agronomy, Libertatii 19, 200421 Craiova
  • Elena Bonciu Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, University of Craiova, Faculty of Agronomy, Libertatii 19, 200421 Craiova https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3599-7157
  • Mugurel Colă Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, University of Craiova, Faculty of Agronomy, Libertatii 19, 200421 Craiova
  • Nicoleta Anca Șuțan Department of Natural Sciences, University of Pitesti, Târgul din Vale 1, 110040 Pitesti




allium assay, herbicide, genotoxic, whey, antigenotoxic


Whey is a protein complex derived from milk, being a functional food with multiple health benefits. In this paper, the antigenotoxic potential of fresh bovine whey (FBW) in onion (Allium cepa) meristematic roots exposed to Quizalofop-P-tefuryl (QPt) herbicide was evaluated using the Allium assay. Firstly, the Allium cepa meristematic roots obtained after a short germination of 24 hours in distilled water were subjected to a pre-treatment with FBW in three different concentrations (500, 1000 and 2000 µl/L) for 24 hours. After that, there was a post-treatment with QPt herbicide (100, 500 and 1000 µl/L), for another 24 hours. All variants were tested alongside a negative control (onion root tips in distilled water) and a positive control (onion root tips treated with 500 µl/L QPt). The genotoxic effects of QPt were observed in all treatment variants, through the low rate of mitosis and through the induction of a large number of chromosomal and nuclear abnormalities (bridges, laggards, rings and strap nuclei). On the other hand, the fresh bovine whey improved the mitotic activity and reduced the index of chromosomal aberrations in variable percentages, in all treatment variants. These results suggest the cytoprotective potential of FBW against the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of the tested herbicide. Although the mechanism of antigenotoxicity is unknown, it seems plausible that the whey protein acts as a blocking agent by chemical or physical interaction with the QPt components. Nevertheless, additional studies are needed to determine with certainty this potential.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Elena Bonciu, Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, University of Craiova, Faculty of Agronomy, Libertatii 19, 200421 Craiova

Professor PhD, University of Craiova, Romania


Abdel-Wahhab KG, Mannaa FA, Abdel-Wahhab MA. 2013. The protective effects of whey protein and Spirulina Against CCl4-induced erythrocyte damage in rats. J Appl Sci Res. 9:2063-2071.

Amanzadeh J, Gitomer WL, Zerwekh JE, Preisig PA, Moe OW, Pak CY, Levi M. 2003. Effect of high protein diet on stone-forming propensity and bone loss in rats. Kidney Int. 64(6):2142-2149.

Andersson E, Isgren E. 2021. Gambling in the garden: pesticide use and risk exposure in Ugandan small holder farming. J Rural Stud. 82:76-86.

Anguiano-Vega GA, Cazares-Ramirez LH, Rendon-Von Osten J. et al. 2020. Risk of genotoxic damage in school children exposed to organochloride pesticides. Sci Rep. 10:17584.

Aparicio VA, Nebot E, Porres JM, Ortega FB, Heredia JM, López-Jurado M, Ramírez PA. 2011. Effects of high-whey-protein intake and resistance training on renal, bone and metabolic parameters in rats. Br J Nutr. 105(6):836-845.

Aydın B, Atlı Şekeroğlu Z, Şekeroğlu V. 2018. Effects of whey protein and conjugated linoleic acid on acrolein-induced cardiac oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and dyslipidemia in rats. Biomed Pharmacother. 107:901-907.

Bartucca ML, Mimmo T, Cesco S, Panfili I, Del Buono D. 2019. Effect of metribuzin on nitrogen metabolism and iron acquisition in Zea mays. Chem Ecol. 35(8):720-731.

Bhattachar S. 2011. Natural antimutagens: A review. Res J Med Plant. 5(2):116-126.

Bonciu E, Firbas P, Fontanetti CS, Wusheng J, Karaismailoğlu MC, Liu D, Menicucci F, Pesnya DS, Popescu A, Romanovsky AV, Schiff S, Ślusarczyk J, De Souza CP, Srivastava A, Sutan A & Papini A. 2018. An evaluation for the standardization of the Allium cepa test as cytotoxicity and genotoxicity assay. Caryologia. 71(3):191-209.

Brandelli A, Daroit DJ, Corrêa APF. 2015. Whey as a source of peptides with remarkable biological activities. Food Res Int. 73:149-161.

Burns AJ, Rowland IR. 2000. Anti-carcinogenity of probiotics and prebiotics. Curr Issues Intest Microbiol. 1:13-24.

Corrochano AR, Ferraretto A, Arranz E, et al. 2019. Bovine whey peptides transit the intestinal barrier to reduce oxidative stress in muscle cells. Food Chem. 288:306-314.

Datta S, Singh J, Singh J, Singh S, Singh S, 2018. Assessment of genotoxic effects of pesticide and vermicompost treated soil with Allium cepa test. Sustainable Environment Research. 28:171-178.

Deveci Özkan A, Aksoy Ö. 2019. Determination of Pesticide-Induced Genotoxicity on Soybean (Glycine max L.). Comm J Biol. 3(2):83-87.

Dimitrov BD, Gadeva PG, Benova DK, Bineva MV. 2006. Comparative genotoxicity of the herbicides Roundup, Stomp and Reglone in plant and mammalian test systems. Mutagenesis. 21(6): 375-382.

Dinkci N. 2021. Whey, Waste or Value?. World J Agri & Soil Sci. 6(5):1-5.

Falkowski M, Maciejczyk M, Koprowicz T, et al. 2018. Whey protein concentrate WPC-80 improves antioxidant defense systems in the salivary glands of 14-month Wistar rats. Nutrients. 10:782.

Franco-Ramos RS, López-Romero CA, Torres-Ortega H, Oseguera-Herrera D, Lamoreaux-Aguayo JP, Molina-Noyola D, Juárez-Vázquez CI, Torres-Bugarín O. 2020. Evaluation of Anti-Cytotoxic and Anti-Genotoxic Effects of Nigella sativa through a Micronucleus Test in BALB/c Mice. Nutrients. 12(5):1317.

Garg G, Singh S, Singh AK, et al. 2018. Whey protein concentrate supplementation protects rat brain against aging-induced oxidative stress and neurodegeneration. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 43:437-444.

Giblin L, Yalçın AS, Biçim G, Krämer AC, Chen Z, Callanan MJ, Arranz E, Davies MJ. 2019. Whey proteins: targets of oxidation, or mediators of redox protection. Free Radical Research. 53(suppl):1136-1152.

Gomez KA, Gomez AA. 1984. Statistical procedures for agricultural research. Willey, New York.

Gupta C, Prakash D. 2017. Therapeutic Potential of Milk Whey. Beverages. 3(3):31.

Hattori CM, Tiselius HG, Heilberg IP. 2017. Whey protein and albumin effects upon urinary risk factors for stone formation. Urolithiasis. 45(5):421-428.

Hernandez AF, Menendez P. 2016. Linking pesticide exposure with pediatric leukemia: potential underlying mechanisms. Int J Mol Sci. 17(4):461.

Jaladat A, Ranjbar K., Shahriarirad R, Salehi Z. 2022. Successful use of Ma’oljobon, a Persian medicine whey product, in a patient with severe chronic cough: A case report. Advances in Integrative Medicine. 9:87-89.

Kasperczyk S, Dobrakowski M, Kasperczyk A, Ostałowska A, Birkner E. 2013. The administration of N-acetylcysteine reduces oxidative stress and regulates glutathione metabolism in the blood cells of workers exposed to lead. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 51(6):480-486.

Khanna N, Sharma S. 2013. Allium cepa root chromosomal aberration assay: a review. IJPBR. 1:105-111.

Kim KH, Kabir E, Jahan SA. 2017. Exposure to pesticides and the associated human health effects. Sci Total Environ. 575:525-535.

Loddo D, Scarabel L, Sattin M, Pederzoli A, Morsiani C, Canestrale R, Tommasini MG. 2020. Combination of herbicide band application and inter-row cultivation provides sustainable weed control in maize. Agronomy. 10(1):20.

López-Romero D, Izquierdo-Vega JA, Morales-González JA, et al. 2018. Evidence of Some Natural Products with Antigenotoxic Effects. Part 2: Plants, Vegetables, and Natural Resin. Nutrients. 10(12):1954.

Lopitz-Otsoa F, Rementeria A, Elguezabal N, Garaizar J. 2006. Kefir: a symbiotic yeasts–bacteria community with alleged healthy capabilities. Rev Iberoam Micol. 23:67-74.

Marshall K. 2004. Whey Protein Therapeutic Applications. Alternative Medicine Review: a Journal of Clinical Therapeutic. 9(2):136-156.

Nagarathna P, Johnson Wesley M, Sriram Reddy P, Reena K. 2013. Review on genotoxicity, its molecular mechanisms and prevention. Int J Pharm Sci Rev Res. 22:236-243.

Pan D, Lu H, Zeng X. 2013. A Newly Isolated Ca Binding Peptide from Whey Protein. International Journal of Food Properties. 16:1127-1134.

Park E, Ha J, Lim S, Kim G, Yoon Y. 2021. Development of postbiotics by whey bioconversion with Enterococcus faecalis M157 KACC81148BP and Lactococcus lactis CAU2013 KACC81152BP for treating periodontal disease and improving gut health. Journal of Dairy Science. 104(12):12321-12331.

Park H, Lee M, Kim KT, Park E, Paik HD. 2018. Antioxidant and antigenotoxic effect of dairy products supplemented with red ginseng extract. Journal of Dairy Science. 101(10): 8702-8710.

Parween T, Jan S, Mahmooduzzafar S, Fatma T, Siddiqui ZH. 2016. Selective effect of pesticides on plant-A review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 56(1):160-179.

Pizzorno J. 2014. Glutathione!. Integr Med (Encinitas). 13(1):8-12.

Rosculete CA, Bonciu E, Rosculete E, Olaru LA. 2019. Determination of the Environmental Pollution Potential of Some Herbicides by the Assessment of Cytotoxic and Genotoxic Effects on Allium cepa. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 16(1):75.

Shetty A, Venkatesh T, Suresh PS, Tsutsumi R. 2017. Exploration of acute genotoxic effects and antigenotoxic potential of gambogic acid using Allium cepa assay. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. 118:643-652.

Srimurali S, Govindaraj S, Krishna Kumar S et al. 2015. Distribution of organochlorine pesticides in atmospheric air of Tamilnadu, southern India. Int J Environ Sci Technol. 12:1957-1964.

Stavric B, Matula TI, Klassen R, Downie RH. 1999. The effect of teas on the in vitro mutagenic potential of heterocyclic aromatic amines. Food Chem Toxicol. 34:515-523.

Tavan E, Cayuela C, Antoine JM, Cassand P. 2002. Antimutagenic activities of various lactic acid bacteria against food mutagens: Heterocyclic amines. J Dairy Res. 69:335-341.

Teixeira FJ, Santos HO, Scott LSL, Pimentel GD. 2019. Whey protein in cancer therapy: A narrative review. Pharmacological Research. 144:245-256.

Van Maele-Fabry G, Gamet Payrastre L, Lison D. 2019. Household exposure to pesticides and risk of leukemia in children and adolescents: updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 222:49-67.

Vasconcelos QDJS, Paschoalette Rodrigues Bachur T, Aragão GF. 2021. Whey protein supplementation and its potentially adverse effects on health: a systematic review. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 46:27-33.

Walzem RL, Dillard CJ, German JB. 2002. Whey Components: Millennia of Evolution Create Functionalities for Mammalian Nutrition: What We Know and What We May Be Overlooking. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 42(4):353-375.

Yadav JS, Yan S, Pilli S, Kumar L, Tyagi RD, Surampalli RY. 2015. Cheese whey: A potential resource to transform into bioprotein, functional/nutritional proteins and bioactive peptides. Biotechnol Adv. 33:756-774.

Yıldız M, Cigerci IH, Konuk M, Fidan AFM Terzi H. 2009. Determination of genotoxic effects of copper sulphate and cobalt chloride in Allium cepa root cells by chromosome aberration and comet assays. Chemosphere. 75:934-938.

Yusa V, Millet M, Coscolla C. Roca M. 2015. Analytical methods for human biomonitoring of pesticides. A review. Anal Chim Acta. 891:15-31.

Zhang QX, Ling YF, Sun Z, Zhang L, Yu HX, Kamau SM, Lu RR. 2012. Protective effect of whey protein hydrolysates against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress on PC12 cells. Biotechnol Lett. 34:2001-2006.




How to Cite

Colă, F., Bonciu, E., Colă, M., & Șuțan, N. A. (2023). Evaluation of the antigenotoxic potential of fresh bovine whey in onion meristematic roots exposed to Quizalofop-P-tefuryl. Caryologia, 76(4), 59–66. https://doi.org/10.36253/caryologia-1925




Most read articles by the same author(s)