The protective effect of beta-carotene (beta-C) and alpha-tocopherol (alpha-T), singularly and in equimolar mixtures, toward the photomutagenicity induced by 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP), at different oxygen partial pressure (pO2), was evaluated in two different experimental models: Salmonella typhimurium TA102 and Saccharomyces cerevisiae D7. After phototreatment with 8-MOP, the results show a lethal effect under hypoxic conditions in both experimental model systems, an increase in revertants associated to the pO2 increase in S. typhimurium TA102, and a decrease in revertants and convertants associated to the pO2 increase in S. cerevisiae D7. In S. typhimurium TA102, in atmospheric condition, beta-C and alpha-T (1.86 or 18.6 microM) show a protective effect only at the higher dosage. Alpha-T was more protective than beta-C. The equimolar mixtures show an antimutagenic effect at both dosage used with a synergistic effect at lower dosage and an additive antimutagenic activity at higher dosage. An inhibition of the spontaneous mutagenicity by mixtures at higher dosage was also observed. The results obtained in S. typhimurium TA102 show an antimutagenic effects of beta-C, alpha-T and their mixture at 190 mmHg pO2, confirming the data obtained in air condition. At 380 mmHg pO2, alpha-T and the mixture show a significant antimutagenic activity; at 570 mmHg pO2, only alpha-T is protective. At 760 mmHg pO2, no protective effect was observed by the two antioxidants, and beta-C increases the photomutagenicity induced by 8-MOP. In S. cerevisiae D7 a protective effect was only observed at 380 mmHg pO2 with the mixture. No antigenotoxic effect was found in the other experimental conditions, even if the uptake of the two antioxidants was confirmed by HPLC. Our results underline the role of oxygen in the photomutagenicity induced by 8-MOP and in the antimutagenic activity of beta-C and alpha-T. This is the first report confirming in a cellular experimental model the data obtained in some chemical systems: the protective effect of beta-C only at low pO2 and the synergistic effect of mixture of beta-C and alpha-T.