Toxicity and mutagenicity of exhaust from compressed natural gas: Could this be a clean solution for megacities with mixed-traffic conditions?

Avinash K. Agarwal, Bushra Ateeq, Tarun Gupta, Akhilendra P. Singh, Swaroop K. Pandey, Nikhil Sharma, Rashmi A. Agarwal, Neeraj K. Gupta, Hemant Sharma, Ayush Jain, Pravesh C. Shukla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Despite intensive research carried out on particulates, correlation between engine-out particulate emissions and adverse health effects is not well understood yet. Particulate emissions hold enormous significance for mega-cities like Delhi that have immense traffic diversity. Entire public transportation system involving taxis, three-wheelers, and buses has been switched from conventional liquid fuels to compressed natural gas (CNG) in the Mega-city of Delhi. In this study, the particulate characterization was carried out on variety of engines including three diesel engines complying with Euro-II, Euro-III and Euro-IV emission norms, one Euro-II gasoline engine and one Euro-IV CNG engine. Physical, chemical and biological characterizations of particulates were performed to assess the particulate toxicity. The mutagenic potential of particulate samples was investigated at different concentrations using two different Salmonella strains, TA98 and TA100 in presence and absence of liver S9 metabolic enzyme fraction. Particulates emitted from diesel and gasoline engines showed higher mutagenicity, while those from CNG engine showed negligible mutagenicity compared to other test fuels and engine configurations. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) adsorbed onto CNG engine particulates were also relatively fewer compared to those from equivalent diesel and gasoline engines. Taken together, our findings indicate that CNG is comparatively safer fuel compared to diesel and gasoline and can offer a cleaner transport energy solution for mega-cities with mixed-traffic conditions, especially in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-511
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Mutagenicity
  • Particulates
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Toxicity
  • Unregulated emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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