The genotoxicity of tannic acid (TA, tannin) were investigated using chromosome aberration (CA), sister chromatid exchange (SCE), and micronucleus (MN) test systems in human peripheral lymphocytes. Also, the antigenotoxicity of TA against known mutagen EMS was also examined. The lymphocytes were treated with 1.74 x 10(-5), 3.49 x 10(-5), and 6.98 x 10(-5) mu M of TA for 24- and 48-hour treatment periods. For the antigenotoxicity of TA, the lymphocytes were treated with three different concentrations of TA and 2.71 mu M of EMS. TA synergically induced the CA alone and with the mixture of EMS. However, TA did not induce the SCE alone, whereas TA and EMS as a mixture also synergically induced SCE. TA alone showed no clear effect on micronucleus formation, and it did not induce the MN when used with EMS as a mixture. In addition, TA showed a synergistic cytotoxic effect by decreasing the mitotic and nuclear division indices. The replication index was decreased at all concentrations for 48 hours of treatment time by TA and EMS as a mixture.