The mutagenicities of 5,5-diphenylhydantoin (DPH) and its major metabolite, 5-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-5-phenylhydantoin (HPPH) were tested in vitro using different Salmonella strains (TA1535, TA100, TA1537, TA1538, TA98). Experiments were carried out at various concentrations in the absence and in the presence of an activating system consisting of hepatic S9 fraction from control rats and from rats pretreated with phenobarbital (PB), β-napthoflavone (BNF), 3-methylcholanthrene (3-MC) and Aroclor 1254 (PCB). DPH slightly increased the number of revertants per plate only after incubations with TA1538 in the presence of the S9 fraction from the liver of 3-MC- and PCB-pretreated animals. A similar but more significant frameshift mutation was observed for HPPH on both TA98 and TA1538 strains and in conditions of metabolic activation by the liver microsomal fractions of rats after pretreatment with BNF, 3-MC and especially PCB. Parallel experiments on the metabolism of DPH to HPPH and of HPPH to the catechol derivative in vitro support the hypothesis of an involvement of epoxide intermediates in the mutagenic activity of DPH. © 1982.