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Toxins (Basel). 2014 Mar 21;6(3):1109-38. doi: 10.3390/toxins6031109.

Presence of the neurotoxin BMAA in aquatic ecosystems: what do we really know?

Author information

1
Aquatic Ecology & Water Quality Management Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 47, Wageningen 6700 DD, The Netherlands. els.faassen@wur.nl.

Abstract

The neurotoxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is suspected to play a role in the neurological diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. BMAA production by cyanobacteria has been reported and contact with cyanobacteria infested waters or consumption of aquatic organisms are possible pathways to human exposure. However, there is little consensus regarding whether BMAA is present in cyanobacteria or not, and if so, at what concentrations. The aim of this review is to indicate the current state of knowledge on the presence of BMAA in aquatic ecosystems. Some studies have convincingly shown that BMAA can be present in aquatic samples at the µg/g dry weight level, which is around the detection limit of some equally credible studies in which no BMAA was detected. However, for the majority of the reviewed articles, it was unclear whether BMAA was correctly identified, either because inadequate analytical methods were used, or because poor reporting of analyses made it impossible to verify the results. Poor analysis, reporting and prolific errors have shaken the foundations of BMAA research. First steps towards estimation of human BMAA exposure are to develop and use selective, inter-laboratory validated methods and to correctly report the analytical work.

PMID:
24662480
PMCID:
PMC3968380
DOI:
10.3390/toxins6031109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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