Mar. Drugs 2012, 10(2), 509-520; doi:10.3390/md10020509

Cyanobacterial Neurotoxin β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) in Shark Fins

1 Department of Neurology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA 2 Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Policy, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA 3 Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA 4 RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA 5 Institute for Ethnomedicine, Box 3464, Jackson Hole, WY 83001, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 January 2012; in revised form: 10 February 2012 / Accepted: 15 February 2012 / Published: 21 February 2012
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Abstract: Sharks are among the most threatened groups of marine species. Populations are declining globally to support the growing demand for shark fin soup. Sharks are known to bioaccumulate toxins that may pose health risks to consumers of shark products. The feeding habits of sharks are varied, including fish, mammals, crustaceans and plankton. The cyanobacterial neurotoxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) has been detected in species of free-living marine cyanobacteria and may bioaccumulate in the marine food web. In this study, we sampled fin clips from seven different species of sharks in South Florida to survey the occurrence of BMAA using HPLC-FD and Triple Quadrupole LC/MS/MS methods. BMAA was detected in the fins of all species examined with concentrations ranging from 144 to 1836 ng/mg wet weight. Since BMAA has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, these results may have important relevance to human health. We suggest that consumption of shark fins may increase the risk for human exposure to the cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA.
Keywords: β-N-methylamino-L-alanine; neurotoxin; neurodegenerative disease; cyanobacteria; elasmobranch; conservation

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mondo, K.; Hammerschlag, N.; Basile, M.; Pablo, J.; Banack, S.A.; Mash, D.C. Cyanobacterial Neurotoxin β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) in Shark Fins. Mar. Drugs 2012, 10, 509-520.

AMA Style

Mondo K, Hammerschlag N, Basile M, Pablo J, Banack SA, Mash DC. Cyanobacterial Neurotoxin β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) in Shark Fins. Marine Drugs. 2012; 10(2):509-520.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mondo, Kiyo; Hammerschlag, Neil; Basile, Margaret; Pablo, John; Banack, Sandra A.; Mash, Deborah C. 2012. "Cyanobacterial Neurotoxin β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) in Shark Fins." Mar. Drugs 10, no. 2: 509-520.

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