Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Blue-Green Algal Links to Alzheimer’s-Like Neurological Disease

05.04.2005


An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of Dundee have announced that cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) found throughout the world may produce a toxin linked to certain types of neurological disease.



Researchers have previously proposed a link between beta-methyl-amino-alanine (BMAA), a neurotoxic amino acid found in cyanobacteria and an Alzheimer’s-like neurodegenerative disease suffered by the Chamorro people on Guam in the Pacific. The Chamorro people eat the seeds from cycads, plants found only in warm regions of the world which were found to produce BMAA.

Dr. Paul Cox, Director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii, and his colleagues found that BMAA is produced by a cyanobacterium resident in special roots of the cycad. Interest increased when BMAA was found in brain tissues of several Alzheimer’s disease patients in Canada.


A network of cyanobacterial scientists, including Dr James Metcalf, Louise Morrison and Professor Geoffrey Codd of the School of Life Sciences at Dundee with Paul Cox, and partners in Stockholm and Hawaii are now investigating the widescale occurrence of BMAA throughout the cyanobacteria and its significance to health.

Professor Codd said, “Samples of cyanobacteria were collected from freshwaters, seas, soil, lichen, a cave and a hot spring from across the world. Of a sample of 30 cultures, ninety five percent of them were shown to produce BMAA”

The Dundee laboratory is internationally recognised for its research on various toxic substances in cyanobacterial blooms and how to reduce the problems which these can present to water-users and consumers. “Whilst our earlier surveys have shown toxin production to be common but patchy among cyanobacteria, for example in lakes, this is the first time that we have encountered such a widespread production of a toxin among the different cyanobacterial groups”, explains Codd.

The study raises questions, the scientists caution, “Whilst BMAA is neurotoxic, the nature of the association with human neurological disease remains uncertain” says Codd. “However we now know that BMAA is widely produced by cyanobacteria from throughout the world, in addition to a rather specialist cyanobacterium on a small Pacific island. This indicates that human exposure to BMAA may also occur more widely and that BMAA should be monitored in water resources, including reservoirs, if they contain cyanobacteria. Now that we know about BMAA in cyanobacteria, steps can be taken to reduce the risks to health which the substance may present.”

The findings of the international team are announced in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the USA.

Angela Durcan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/pressreleases/prapr05/algae.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>