[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cyanobacterial neurotoxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) has been considered a serious health threat because of its putative role in multiple neurodegenerative diseases. First reports on BMAA concentrations in cyanobacteria were alarming: nearly all cyanobacteria were assumed to contain high BMAA concentrations, implying ubiquitous exposure. Recent studies however question this presence of high BMAA concentrations in cyanobacteria. To assess the real risk of BMAA to human health, this discrepancy must be resolved. We therefore tested whether the differences found could be caused by the analytical methods used in different studies. Eight cyanobacterial samples and two control samples were analyzed by three commonly used methods: HPLC-FLD analysis and LC-MS/MS analysis of both derivatized and underivatized samples. In line with published results, HPLC-FLD detected relatively high BMAA concentrations in some cyanobacterial samples, while both LC-MS/MS methods only detected BMAA in the positive control (cycad seed sarcotesta). Because we could eliminate the use of different samples and treatments as causal factors, we demonstrate that the observed differences were caused by the analytical methods. We conclude that HPLC-FLD overestimated BMAA concentrations in some cyanobacterial samples due to its low selectivity and propose that BMAA might be present in (some) cyanobacteria, but in the low µg/g or ng/g range instead of the high µg/g range as sometimes reported before. We therefore recommend to use only selective and sensitive analytical methods like LC-MS/MS for BMAA analysis. Although possibly present in low concentrations in cyanobacteria, BMAA can still form a health risk. Recent evidence on BMAA accumulation in aquatic food chains suggests human exposure through consumption of fish and shellfish which expectedly exceeds exposure through cyanobacteria.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e36667. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regime shifts in shallow lakes may significantly affect partitioning of sediment-bound hydrophobic organic chemicals (HOCs) such as polychlorobiphenyls (PCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). In replicated experimental model ecosystems mimicking the alternative stable states 'macrophyte-dominated' and 'suspended solid - phytoplankton dominated', we tested the effects of macrophytes and benthivorous fish presence on mass distribution and bioaccumulation of hexachlorobenzene, PCBs and PAHs. HOC mass distributions and lipid-normalized concentrations in sediment (Soxhlet- and 6-h Tenax-extractable), suspended solids, macrophytes, periphyton, algae, zooplankton, invertebrates and carp revealed that mobile, i.e. less hydrophobic or less aged HOCs were more susceptible to ecological changes than their sequestered native counterparts. Macrophytes were capable of depleting considerable percentages of the bioavailable, fast desorbing HOC fractions in the sediment upper (bioactive) layer, but did not have a significant diluting effect on lipid-normalized HOC concentrations in carp. Carp structured invertebrate communities through predation and stimulated partitioning of HOCs to other system compartments by resuspending the sediment. These results show that shifts in ecosystem structure have clear effects on fate, risks and natural attenuation of sediment-bound organic contaminants.
Water Research 12/2010; 44(20):6153-63. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We aimed to determine concentrations of the neurotoxic amino acids beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) and alpha-,gamma-diaminobutyric acid (DAB) in mixed species scum material from Dutch urban waters that suffer from cyanobacterial blooms. BMAA and DAB were analysed in scum material without derivatization by LC-MSMS (liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry) using hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC). Our method showed high selectivity, good recovery of added compounds after sample extraction (86% for BMAA and 85% for DAB), acceptable recovery after sample hydrolysation (70% for BMAA and 56% for DAB) and acceptable precision. BMAA and DAB could be detected at an injected amount of 0.34 pmol. Free BMAA was detected in nine of the 21 sampled locations with a maximum concentration of 42 microg/g DW. Free DAB was detected in two locations with a maximum concentration of 4 microg/g DW. No protein-associated forms were detected. This study is the first to detect underivatized BMAA in cyanobacterial scum material using LC-MSMS. Ubiquity of BMAA in cyanobacteria scums of Dutch urban waters could not be confirmed, where BMAA and DAB concentrations were relatively low; however, co-occurrence with other cyanobacterial neurotoxins might pose a serious health risk including chronic effects from low-level doses.