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    ABSTRACT: Sports supplements are becoming a regular dietary addition for consumers who view such products as a means of improving their health and performance. Previously estrogenic endocrine disruptors (EDs) were detected in 80% of 116 sports supplements investigated by biological in vitro reporter gene assays (RGAs). The aim of this study was to quantify the hormonal activity in 50 of these sports supplement samples using a validated estrogen RGA and perform an exposure and risk assessment for human health. Results showed that 17β-estradiol equivalent levels were higher than those reported as being present in the typical human omnivore diet in 33 of the sports supplements and higher than the acceptable daily intake (ADI) in 13 of these products. The highest activity samples presented a potential to influence the human daily exposure to 17β-estradiol like activity in various risk groups with a predicted hormonal impact of greatest concern in young boys and postmenopausal women. In conclusion, consumers of sports supplements may be exposed to high levels of estrogenic EDs.
    Food Chemistry 09/2014; 159:157-65.
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    ABSTRACT: Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), ochratoxin A (OTA) and fumonisin B1 (FB1) are contaminants which have been shown to regularly co-occur in a range of foods. However, only a small number of studies have evaluated the interactive effect of binary and tertiary mycotoxins. The present study evaluated the effects of low levels of each mycotoxin in combination at their EU regulatory limits. Toxic effect with respect to cell viability was measured by MTT and neutral red assays, assessing mitochondria and lysosome integrities respectively. Individual toxicity showed that OTA (10 μg/ml) was the most cytotoxic mycotoxin in all three cell lines studied (caco-2, MDBK and raw 264.7). Binary combinations were cytotoxic to the MDBK cell line in the order [OTA/FB1] > [AFB1/FB1] > [AFB1/OTA], whilst all effects observed were classified as being additive. Tertiary combinations of AFB1, FB1 and OTA at the EU regulatory limits were tested and not found to exhibit measurable cytotoxicity in MDBK, caco-2 or raw 264.7 cells. However by increasing these concentrations above the legal limits to OTA (3 μg/ml), FB1 (8 μg/ml) and AFB1 (1.28 μg/ml), cytotoxicity was observed with up to 26% reduction in cell viability and synergistic effects were evident with regard to mitochondrial integrity.
    Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Anthropogenic noise affects species relying on acoustic communication. Signals used in acoustic communication are important for reproduction as females are often attracted by signalling males and base their mate choice on male song. Previous studies on the impact of anthropogenic noise on behaviour have focused on the sender and mostly on vertebrates. However, we have little understanding of how potential receivers, e.g. females, are affected by noise. Using playback experiments, we investigated the response of female field crickets, Gryllus bimaculatus, to male song in the presence and absence of anthropogenic noise. We found that anthropogenic noise resulted in less effective phonotaxis towards signalling males. Thus, our study provides experimental evidence that anthropogenic noise affects females by limiting their ability to locate potential mates. Since male songs were not energetically masked by anthropogenic noise, signal masking cannot explain the difference in response. The reduced ability to locate singing males may be explained by distraction caused by the broad stimulus filtering of G. bimaculatus. The behavioural adjustments at the individual level may be passed to higher ecosystem processes, owing to invertebrates' fundamental role as part of a functioning ecosystem.
    Animal Behaviour 08/2014; 94:55-59.
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    ABSTRACT: Patulin (PAT) is a mycotoxin produced by various species of fungi, with Penicillium expansum being the most commonly occurring. Apples and apple products are the main sources of PAT contamination. This mycotoxin has been shown to induce toxic effects in animals, a few of which include reproductive toxicity and interference with the endocrine system. Here the endocrine disrupting potential of PAT has been investigated in vitro to identify disruption at the level of oestrogen, androgen, progestagen and glucocorticoid nuclear receptor transcriptional activity, and to assess interferences in estradiol, testosterone and progesterone steroid hormone production. At the receptor level, 0.5-5000ng/ml (0.0032-32μM) PAT did not appear to induce any specific (ant) agonistic responses in reporter gene assays (RGAs); however, nuclear transcriptional activity was affected. A >6 fold increase in the glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activity was observed following treatment with 5000ng/ml PAT in the presence of cortisol. At the hormone production level, despite cytotoxicity being observed after treatment with 5000ng/ml PAT, estradiol levels had increased >2 fold. At 500ng/ml PAT treatment, an increase in progesterone and a decrease in testosterone production were observed. The findings of this study could be considered in assessing the health risks following exposure to PAT.
    Toxicology Letters 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Emergent multiple predator effects (MPEs) might radically alter predictions of predatory impact that are based solely on the impact of individuals. In the context of biological invasions, determining if and how the individual-level impacts of invasive predators relates to their impacts in multiple-individual situations will inform understanding of how such impacts might propagate through recipient communities. Here, we use functional responses (the relationship between prey consumption rate and prey density) to compare the impacts of the invasive freshwater mysid crustacean Hemimysis anomala with a native counterpart Mysis salemaai when feeding on basal cladoceran prey (i) as individuals, (ii) in conspecific groups, and (iii) in conspecific groups in the presence of a higher fish predator, Gasterosteus aculeatus. In the absence of the higher predator, the invader consumed significantly more basal prey than the native, and consumption was additive for both mysid species - that is, group consumption was predictable from individual-level consumption. Invaders and natives were themselves equally susceptible to predation when feeding with the higher fish predator, but an MPE occurred only between the natives and higher predator, where consumption of basal prey was significantly reduced. In contrast, consumption by the invaders and higher predator remained additive. The presence of a higher predator serves to exacerbate the existing difference in individual-level consumption between invasive and native mysids. We attribute the mechanism responsible for the MPE associated with the native to a trait-mediated indirect interaction and, further, suggest that the relative indifference to predator threat on the part of the invader contributes to its success and impacts within invaded communities. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Animal Ecology 05/2014; 83:693-701.
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    ABSTRACT: Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are a group of plant secondary metabolites with carcinogenic and hepatotoxic properties. When PA-producing plants contaminate crops, toxins can be transferred through the food chain and cause illness in humans and animals, most notably hepatic veno-occlusive disease. Honey has been identified as a direct risk of human exposure. The European Food Safety Authority has recently identified four groups of PAs that are of particular importance for food and feed: senecionine-type, lycopsamine-type, heliotrine-type and monocrotaline-type. Liquid or gas chromatography methods are currently used to detect PAs but there are no rapid screening assays available commercially. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a rapid multiplex ELISA test for the representatives of three groups of alkaloids (senecionine, lycopsamine and heliotrine types) that would be used as a risk-management tool for the screening of these toxic compounds in food and feed. The method was validated for honey and feed matrices and was demonstrated to have a detection capability less than 25 μg/kg for jacobine, lycopsamine, heliotrine and senecionine. The zinc reduction step introduced to the extraction procedure allows for the additional detection of the presence of N-oxides of PAs. This first multiplex immunoassay for PA detection with N-oxide reduction can be used for the simultaneous screening of 21 samples for >12 PA analytes. Honey samples (n = 146) from various origins were analysed for PA determination. Six samples were determined to contain measurable PAs >25 μg/kg by ELISA which correlated to >10 μg/kg by LC-MS/MS.
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Galactosemia is an inherited metabolic disease in which galactose is not properly metabolised. There are various theories to explain the molecular pathology, and recent experimental evidence strongly suggests that oxidative stress plays a key role. High galactose diets are damaging to experimental animals and oxidative stress also plays a role in this toxicity which can be alleviated by purple sweet potato colour (PSPC). This plant extract is rich in acetylated anthocyanins which have been shown to quench free radical production. The objective of this Commentary is to advance the hypothesis that PSPC, or compounds therefrom, may be a viable basis for a novel therapy for galactosemia.
    International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: A lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) has been developed and fully validated to detect the primary amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) toxin, domoic acid (DA). The performance characteristics of two versions of the test were investigated using spiked and naturally contaminated shellfish (mussels, scallops, oysters, clams, and cockles). The tests provide a qualitative result, to indicate the absence or presence of DA in extracts of shellfish tissues, at concentrations that are relevant to regulatory limits. The new rapid assay (LFIA version 2) was designed to overcome the performance limitations identified in the first version of the assay. The improved test uses an electronic reader to remove the subjective nature of the generated results, and the positive cut-off for screening of DA in shellfish was increased from 10ppm (version 1) to 17.5ppm (version 2). A simple extraction and test procedure was employed, which required minimal equipment and materials; results were available 15min after sample preparation. Stability of the aqueous extracts at room temperature (22°C) at four time points (up to 245min after extraction) and across a range of DA concentrations was 100.3±1.3% and 98.8±2.4% for pre- and post-buffered extracts, respectively. The assay can be used both within laboratory settings and in remote locations. The accuracy of the new assay, to indicate negative results at or below 10ppm DA, and positive results at or above 17.5ppm, was 99.5% (n=216 tests). Validation data were obtained from a 2-day, randomised, blind study consisting of multiple LFIA lots (n=3), readers (n=3) and operators (n=3), carrying out multiple extractions of mussel tissue (n=3) at each concentration (0, 10, 17.5, and 20ppm). No matrix effects were observed on the performance of the assay with different species (mussels, scallops, oysters, clams, and cockles). There was no impact on accuracy or interference from other phycotoxins, glutamic acid or glutamine with various strip incubations (8, 10, and 12min). The accuracy of the assay, using naturally contaminated samples to indicate negative results at or below 12.5ppm and positive results at or above 17.5ppm, was 100%. Variability between three LFIA lots across a range of DA concentrations, expressed as coefficient of variation (% CV), was 1.1±0.4% (n=2 days) based on quantitative readings from the electronic reader. During an 8 week stability study, accuracy of the method with test strips stored at various temperatures (6, 22, 37 and 50°C) was 100%. Validation for both versions included comparisons with results obtained using reference LC-UV methods.
    Talanta 11/2013; 116:663-9.
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies show that elevated plasma levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are associated with diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease. Thus AGEs have been used as disease progression markers. However, the effects of variations in biological sample processing procedures on the level of AGEs in plasma/serum samples have not been investigated. The objective of this investigation was to assess the effect of variations in blood sample collection on measured N (ε)-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML), the best characterised AGE, and its homolog, N (ε)-(carboxyethyl)lysine (CEL). The investigation examined the effect on CML and CEL of different blood collection tubes, inclusion of a stabilising cocktail, effect of freeze thaw cycles, different storage times and temperatures, and effects of delaying centrifugation on a pooled sample from healthy volunteers. CML and CEL were measured in extracted samples by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Median CML and CEL ranged from 0.132 to 0.140 mM/M lys and from 0.053 to 0.060 mM/M lys, respectively. No significant difference was shown CML or CEL in plasma/serum samples. Therefore samples collected as part of epidemiological studies that do not undergo specific sample treatment at collection are suitable for measuring CML and CEL.
    Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 11/2013; 53(3):129-33.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Context: Freshwater cyanobacterial toxins, microcystins, may be a contributing factor to the development of hepatocellular cancer and colorectal cancer. Objectives: This review summarizes the toxicity data, exposure routes and the methodologies available to determine exposure to elucidate the relationship to liver and colorectal cancer. Methods: Literature searches were conducted using Medline, PubMed and Web of Science. Results: There is evidence of human poisonings resulting from exposure to microcystins, however current methods rely on targeted approaches only suitable for acute exposure. No methods exist for the determination of chronic exposure to microcystins. Conclusions: With the growing evidence of exposure to microcystins and the possible links to cancer, methods to measure medium to long-term human exposure are needed. The identification and validation of candidate biomarkers are key to undertaking urgently required epidemiological studies.
    Biomarkers 10/2013;
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