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      Presence of the Neurotoxin BMAA in Aquatic Ecosystems: What Do We Really Know?

      review-article
      Toxins
      MDPI
      bioaccumulation, α-,γ-diaminobutyric acid, cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, food web, validation, HPLC-FLD, LC-MS/MS, GC-MS, ELISA

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          Abstract

          The neurotoxin β- N-methylamino- l-alanine (BMAA) is suspected to play a role in the neurological diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. BMAA production by cyanobacteria has been reported and contact with cyanobacteria infested waters or consumption of aquatic organisms are possible pathways to human exposure. However, there is little consensus regarding whether BMAA is present in cyanobacteria or not, and if so, at what concentrations. The aim of this review is to indicate the current state of knowledge on the presence of BMAA in aquatic ecosystems. Some studies have convincingly shown that BMAA can be present in aquatic samples at the µg/g dry weight level, which is around the detection limit of some equally credible studies in which no BMAA was detected. However, for the majority of the reviewed articles, it was unclear whether BMAA was correctly identified, either because inadequate analytical methods were used, or because poor reporting of analyses made it impossible to verify the results. Poor analysis, reporting and prolific errors have shaken the foundations of BMAA research. First steps towards estimation of human BMAA exposure are to develop and use selective, inter-laboratory validated methods and to correctly report the analytical work.

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          Most cited references99

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          Synthesis of a fluorescent derivatizing reagent, 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl carbamate, and its application for the analysis of hydrolysate amino acids via high-performance liquid chromatography.

          A highly reactive amine derivatizing reagent, 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl carbamate, has been synthesized. In a rapid, one-step procedure, the compound reacts with amino acids to form stable unsymmetric urea derivatives which are readily amenable to analysis by reversed phase HPLC. Studies on derivatization conditions demonstrate excellent derivative yield over the pH range 8.2-10.0. Maximal yields are observed with a molar reagent excess of approximately three or greater. The reaction is extremely tolerant of common buffer salts and detergents, with no discernible decrease in reaction yield with well-buffered samples. Selective fluorescence detection of the derivatives with excitation at 250 nm and emission at 395 nm allows for the direct injection of the reaction mixture with no significant interference from the only major fluorescent reagent by-product, 6-aminoquinoline. Separation of the derivatized amino acids has been optimized on a C18 column with complete resolution in less than 35 min. Excellent response linearity is demonstrated over the concentration range 2.5-200 microM for all hydrolysate amino acids. Detection limits range from 40 fmol for phenylalanine to 800 fmol for cystine. Good compositional data could be obtained from the analysis of derivatized protein hydrolysates containing as little as 30 ng of sample.
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            Diverse taxa of cyanobacteria produce beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid.

            Cyanobacteria can generate molecules hazardous to human health, but production of the known cyanotoxins is taxonomically sporadic. For example, members of a few genera produce hepatotoxic microcystins, whereas production of hepatotoxic nodularins appears to be limited to a single genus. Production of known neurotoxins has also been considered phylogenetically unpredictable. We report here that a single neurotoxin, beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine, may be produced by all known groups of cyanobacteria, including cyanobacterial symbionts and free-living cyanobacteria. The ubiquity of cyanobacteria in terrestrial, as well as freshwater, brackish, and marine environments, suggests a potential for wide-spread human exposure.
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              The interaction between ammonium and nitrate uptake in phytoplankton

              Q. Dortch (1990)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Toxins (Basel)
                Toxins (Basel)
                toxins
                Toxins
                MDPI
                2072-6651
                21 March 2014
                March 2014
                : 6
                : 3
                : 1109-1138
                Affiliations
                Aquatic Ecology & Water Quality Management Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 47, Wageningen 6700 DD, The Netherlands; E-Mail: els.faassen@ 123456wur.nl ; Tel.: +31-317-483-898; Fax: +31-317-419-000
                Article
                toxins-06-01109
                10.3390/toxins6031109
                3968380
                24662480
                7749ed81-7c1a-40d1-9056-74011735b195
                © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                History
                : 18 January 2014
                : 28 February 2014
                : 04 March 2014
                Categories
                Review

                Molecular medicine
                bioaccumulation,α-,γ-diaminobutyric acid,cyanobacteria,cyanotoxins,food web,validation,hplc-fld,lc-ms/ms,gc-ms,elisa

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