Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Environ Health Perspect. 2000 May;108(5):435-9.

Assessing potential health risks from microcystin toxins in blue-green algae dietary supplements.

Author information

  • 1Environmental Services and Consultation Section, Oregon Health Division, Portland, Oregon 97232, USA. duncan.j.gilroy@state.or.us

Abstract

The presence of blue-green algae (BGA) toxins in surface waters used for drinking water sources and recreation is receiving increasing attention around the world as a public health concern. However, potential risks from exposure to these toxins in contaminated health food products that contain BGA have been largely ignored. BGA products are commonly consumed in the United States, Canada, and Europe for their putative beneficial effects, including increased energy and elevated mood. Many of these products contain Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, a BGA that is harvested from Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) in southern Oregon, where the growth of a toxic BGA, Microcystis aeruginosa, is a regular occurrence. M. aeruginosa produces compounds called microcystins, which are potent hepatotoxins and probable tumor promoters. Because M. aeruginosa coexists with A. flos-aquae, it can be collected inadvertently during the harvesting process, resulting in microcystin contamination of BGA products. In fall 1996, the Oregon Health Division learned that UKL was experiencing an extensive M. aeruginosa bloom, and an advisory was issued recommending against water contact. The advisory prompted calls from consumers of BGA products, who expressed concern about possible contamination of these products with microcystins. In response, the Oregon Health Division and the Oregon Department of Agriculture established a regulatory limit of 1 microg/g for microcystins in BGA-containing products and tested BGA products for the presence of microcystins. Microcystins were detected in 85 of 87 samples tested, with 63 samples (72%) containing concentrations > 1 microg/g. HPLC and ELISA tentatively identified microcystin-LR, the most toxic microcystin variant, as the predominant congener.

PMID:
10811570
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1638057
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk