Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cyanobacteria ("blue-green algae") produce toxin with possible connection to neurodegerative disorders

11.04.2005


It is well known that a tiny number of cyanobacteria, previously known as blue-green algae, produce substances that can be toxic to both humans and animals. Now a research team from Sweden, Scotland, and the U.S. has found that a further toxin (BMAA, -methyl amino-alanine) with a possible connection to degenerative nerve diseases like ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s is produced by cyanobacteria that are widespread around the world.



The findings are reported in the new issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (PNAS) in the U.S. Swedish collaborators in the project are Professor Birgitta Bergman and Associate Professor Ulla Rasmussen at the Department of Botany, Stockholm University.

The connection between BMAA and these disorders has been intensively studied over the years on the Pacific island of Guam, where the incidence following World War II has been 50-100 times higher than elsewhere in the world. Previously scientists thought that BMAA was produced only by cone palm trees, which are extremely common in that part of the world and have sometimes been used as food. High levels of BMAA have been found in the brains of disease victims in Guam, but since BMAA has recently been discovered in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients in Canada, the hunt for the sources of the BMAA toxin has been intensified.


Recently Paul Cox and his associates in the U.S. showed that BMAA is produced by a cyanobacterium that lives in the roots of the cone palm rather than in the plant itself. A research team then undertook a study of the prevalence of BMAA in cyanobacteria gathered from all over the world. It was found that more than 90 percent of all cyanobacteria studied (living freely or in symbiosis with plants) produce BMAA. Since cyanobacteria are extremely common in soil, waters, and seas and are counted among the first organisms to appear on earth, this discovery may be of both evolutionary and ecological significance. Since global warming is expected to stimulate the massive production of cyanobacteria in the oceans and the Baltic Sea, for instance, it is now essential to determine the prevalence in our environment and the possible health risks of BMAA. Scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have launched a research project designed to study the connection between BMAA and neurodegenerative disorders.

Agneta Paulsson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.su.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The world's tiniest first responders
21.06.2018 | University of Southern California

nachricht A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå
21.06.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>