Bivalve molluscs (mussels, oysters, clams and cockles, among others) obtain their food by filtering sea water in order to retain the organic particles it contains. But together with nutrients, molluscs also tend to accumulate other suspended particles such as organic pollutants, which later enter the human organism when the molluscs are eaten.
The cultivation of bivalve molluscs in shallow waters close to urban, industrial and agricultural areas may cause these organisms to accumulate organic pollutants, including pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, furans and endocrine disruptors. High consumption of these polluted animals during periods of intense contamination represents a serious concern for public health.
According to a number of studies, chronic exposure to pesticides and the other pollutants mentioned above is associated to a higher risk of developing cancer and certain neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, endocrine disruptors may interact with the metabolic system of animals and humans and deteriorate a variable number of developmental functions. This is why it is necessary to detoxify molluscs before they are eaten.
To date, this decontamination consisted in treating them with filtered, sterilised water or by applying hydrostatic pressure at high temperatures for 48 hours. However, complete removal of pesticides from the tissues of the bivalve molluscs takes several days, so the conventional treatment may not be sufficient.
“The method that we have developed allows us to improve this process and means that pesticides can be removed from the tissues of molluscs twice or even four times as quickly, depending on the type of pollutant. It also increases tolerance to oxidative stress”, says Roque Serrano, a scientist at the University Institute of Pesticides and Waters at UJI and co-author of the study.
The method consists in utilising N-acetylcysteine, a substance that is capable of stimulating the intracellular synthesis of glutathione and triggers glutathione S-transferase and glutathione reductase activity in mussels. Glutathione is essential in most living organisms, since it intervenes in several very important cellular phenomena, such as detoxification of xenobiotics and the elimination of free radicals. The importance of the work carried out by the UJI and CSIC researchers lies in the fact that it proves that administration of N-acetylcysteine enhances glutathione activity in molluscs and, therefore, has remarkable applications as a technique for removing pollutants from mussels.
The researchers responsible for the invention of the method are Samuel Peña Llopis, who currently works at the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Roque Serrano Gallego, from the University Institute of Pesticides and Waters at UJI, and Juan B. Peña Forner, from the Department of Biology, Culture and Pathology of Marine Species at the CSIC’s Torre de la Sal Aquaculture Institute.
Hugo Cerdà | alfa
Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences