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Co-occurrence of beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid with other cyanobacterial toxins in British waterbodies, 1990-2004.

Division of Molecular and Environmental Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK.
Environmental Microbiology (Impact Factor: 6.24). 04/2008; 10(3):702-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01492.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The neurotoxic amino acid, beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine, was found to be present in all of 12 analysed samples of cyanobacterial blooms, scums and mats, which had been collected in seven years between 1990 and 2004 inclusive and stored at -20 degrees C. BMAA identification was by high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection and by triple quadrapole mass spectrometry after derivatization. The samples originated from 11 freshwater lakes and 1 brackish waterbody, used either for drinking water, recreation, or both. BMAA was present at between 8 and 287 microg g(-1) cyanobacterial dry weight and was present as both the free amino acid and associated with precipitated proteins. Ten of the samples contained additional cyanotoxins (including microcystins, anatoxin-a, nodularin and saxitoxin) at the time of sample collection. Five of the samples were associated with animal deaths, attributable at the time of sample collection, to microcystins, nodularin or anatoxin-a. The data demonstrate the presence of BMAA by high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry in a diverse range of cyanobacterial bloom samples from high resource waterbodies. Furthermore, samples collected over several years shows that BMAA can co-occur with other known cyanotoxins in such waterbodies. Health risk assessment of cyanobacterial BMAA in waterbodies is suggested.

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