Co-occurrence of β-N-methylamino-l-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid with other cyanobacterial toxins in British waterbodies, 1990–2004

James S. Metcalf, Sandra Anne Banack, Jaime Lindsay, Louise F. Morrison, Paul Alan Cox, Geoffrey A. Codd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    200 Citations (Scopus)

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)702-708
    Number of pages7
    JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
    Volume10
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

    Keywords

    • Amino Acids, Diamino
    • Bacterial Toxins
    • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
    • Cyanobacteria
    • Marine Toxins
    • Microcystins
    • Neurotoxins
    • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
    • Water Microbiology
    • Water Pollutants

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