The main purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of diesel engine conditions on the mutagenic activity of the exhaust. Special emphasis was put on investigation of the influence of nitrogen oxides content. Experiments with a diesel engine have been carried out in the laboratory and the emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) have been measured at different engine conditions. The particulate matter was extracted in order to obtain the soluble organic fraction (SOF), and this fraction was analyzed for mutagenic activity in the Salmonella/microsome assay (AMES test). It was found that the mutagenic activity evidently depended on the PAH content (PAH = Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) of the exhaust gas rather than the NOx content. However, the percentage of the direct mutagenic activity of the total mutagenic activity increased as the NOx content in the exhaust gas increased. This is probably an indication of increased levels of nitro-PAH.