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Neurotoxins found in seafood.

Cyanobacteria produce a neurotoxin thought to be the cause of a neurodegenerative disorder in Guam. This cyanobacteria may also be producing neurotoxins in the Baltic Sea, among other places.

In the late 1940's to early 1950's, an illness similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) occurred in the Chamorro people in Guam. Researchers thought that a neurotoxin produced by bacteria in some plants was consumed by a high amount of the Chamorro people causing this illness. Scientists used a new way of analyzing this neurotoxin, called [beta]-methylamino-1-alanine (BMAA) by isolating and measuring levels of surface blooms occurring in the Baltic Sea. They also found that some BMAA accumulates in bottom-dwelling fish as well as in mussels and oysters cultivated on the coast of Sweden.

(Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 2010; 107120] :9252-9257.)

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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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