Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biologists Find Diatom to Reduce Red Tide’s Toxicity

22.08.2008
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that a diatom can reduce the levels of the red tide’s toxicity to animals and that the same diatom can reduce its toxicity to other algae as well.

It’s estimated that the red tide algae, Karenia brevis, costs approximately $20 million per bloom in economic damage off the coast of Florida alone. Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that a diatom can reduce the levels of the red tide’s toxicity to animals and that the same diatom can reduce red tide’s toxicity to other algae as well.

If scientists can learn to use this process to reduce the toxicity of red tide, they could reduce the vast amount of economic damage done to the seafood and tourism industries. The research appears as articles in press for the Web sites of the journals Harmful Algae and the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.

“We found that red tide toxins can be metabolized by other species of phytoplankton. That holds true for both the brevetoxins that damage members of the animal kingdom and the as yet unknown allelopathic toxins that kill other competing species of algae,” said Julia Kubanek, an associate professor with a joint appointment in Georgia Tech’s School of Biology and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Red tide is a dramatic case of an ecosystem that’s out of control. In normal seawater, K. brevis makes up about 1 percent or less of the species, but during a red tide, that share increases to more than 90 percent. Filter feeders such as oysters, mussels and clams ingest the dinoflagellate and become unsafe to eat. Fish killed by the red tide wash on the shore, which can be contaminated and essentially unusable to tourists for months at a time.

Kubanek and her researchers found in previous work that the growth of the diatom Skeletonema costatum was only moderately suppressed by the brevetoxins released by the red tide. So, they figured that the diatom might have a way to deal with the toxins. According to their study, they were right.

In one experiment, detailed in the journal Harmful Algae, Kubanek’s students grew the red tide algae along with the S. costatum diatom to test her group’s hypothesis and found that the samples with both organisms had a smaller concentration of brevetoxin B than samples without the diatom. They also tested the algae with four different S. costatum diatom strains from around the world and came up with largely the same results. That suggests that evolutionary experience with the red tide algae was not necessary for the diatom to resist the toxins.

In another experiment, covered in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they found that the red tide algae was able to reduce the growth of the S. costatum diatom, but that exposure of the red tide organism to S. costatum makes the red tide less toxic to microscopic algae. That suggests that the diatom is somehow able to reduce the potency of red tide’s toxins.

“It could be that Skeletonema is degrading Karenia's allelopathic chemicals just like it degrades brevetoxins. Or, it could be that Skeletonema is stressing Karenia out, making it harder to produce allelopathic chemicals,” said Kubanek.

What they do know is that the brevetoxins that harm oysters and other members of the animal kingdom aren’t the whole story.

“We found that when we took seawater and added purified brevetoxins to it, the live algae didn’t suffer much, so there must be other chemicals released by the red tide that are toxic to these algae,” said Kubanek.

How that’s done, isn’t clear yet, but Kubanek and her group are currently working on finding the answer to that question.

“What we do know is that this diatom, S. costatum, is able to undermine these toxins produced by the red tide, as well as the brevetoxins that are known to kill vertebrate animals like fish and dolphins,” said Kubanek.

If scientists such as Kubanek and her team can learn more about the strategies that microscopic algae use to reduce the toxicity of red tide, they might be able to use that knowledge to help reduce the poisonous effects the tide has on the animal kingdom, not to mention the damage it does to the seafood and tourism industries.

Kubanek’s research team for these studies consisted of Tracey Myers and Emily Prince from Georgia Tech and Jerome Naar of the Center for Marine Science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

David Terraso | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu/news-room/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>