Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Poison in fish: chemists at the University of Graz discover new arsenic compounds in herring caviar

30.03.2016

We know that potentially toxic trace elements such as mercury and arsenic can accumulate in saltwater fish. They are bound into organic compounds, which can then be found in cellular components such as membranes. Chemists at the University of Graz from Univ.-Prof. Dr. Kevin Francesconi’s working group have discovered the existence of previously unknown arsenic compounds in herring roe. The study was published as a “Very Important Paper” in the renowned chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

When looking for arsenic compounds in the membranes of marine organisms, the scientists in Graz focussed on fish eggs because they have a particularly high concentration of membranes. In samples of herring roe from the Norwegian Sea, the researchers discovered two previously unknown groups of lipid-soluble arsenic compounds, which make up around 80 percent of the total content of this trace element.


In Seefisch, wie zum Beispiel dem Hering, können sich giftige Spurenelemente anreichern. Foto: pixabay


Fischeier sind besonders reich an Membranen. In diesen haben die Grazer ChemikerInnen neue Arsenverbindungen entdeckt. Foto: Marco Almbauer/Wikimedia Commons

“For the first time, we were able to prove that arsenic can be found in phosphatidylcholines,” reports Sandra Viczek, MSc, first author of the current publication.

“The discovery is important because phosphatidylcholines are core components of membranes and therefore play a biologically important role in the cell metabolism,” highlights Kevin Francesconi. “Furthermore, these types of arsenolipids probably make up over half of all the lipid-soluble arsenic in marine creatures,” adds Kenneth Jensen, the main author of the study.

Five new phosphatidylcholines containing arsenic were identified during the current study. However, Jensen believes that “there are probably many more of these complex natural substances.”

The next step is to clarify how poisonous the compounds discovered are. Francesconi and his team are investigating this topic in the framework of a research project financed by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

“In cooperation with toxicologists at the University of Potsdam, we are investigating what the high proportion of these substances in the membrane means from a toxicological point of view, i.e. what effect the phosphatidylcholines containing arsenic have on the cell metabolism.” A related question is how and why these compounds are biosynthesised in the fish in the first place.

The pioneering research results were made possible by the recently acquired high resolution mass spectrometer at the “NAWI Graz Central Lab – Environmental, Plant & Microbial Metabolomics“. This instrument allows the components to be fragmented into their constituent parts and identified with utmost precision.

Publication:
Arsenic-containing Phosphatidylcholines: a New Group of Arsenolipids Discovered in Herring Caviar
Sandra A. Viczek, Kenneth B. Jensen, and Kevin A. Francesconi
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.201512031

Contact:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Kevin Francesconi
Institute of Chemistry at the University of Graz
Tel.: 0043 (0)316/380-5301
Email: kevin.francesconi@uni-graz.at

Weitere Informationen:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201512031/abstract Publication in Angewandte Chemie

Mag. Gudrun Pichler | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Further information:
http://www.uni-graz.at

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>