Dimethyl sulfoxide slurries of a coal gasifier electrostatic precipitator tar and its chemical class fractions were assayed for their toxicity and teratogenicity using early embryos of the frog Xenopus laevis. Of the 5 tar fractions the ether-soluble base and polyaromatic were found to be the most teratogenic and the ether-soluble acid and ether-soluble base were the most toxic. The teratogenic effects of the raw tar suggest synergism. The toxic effects to newly metamorphosed froglets is 1-2 orders of magnitude less than those observed for embryos. Chemical analysis shows dihydroxybenzenes and organonitrogen compounds to be the major components of the acid and base fractions, respectively. The neutral fractions contain mainly alkyl-substituted two-ring hydrocarbons.
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