The neurotoxin β-N
-alanine (BMAA), a non-protein amino acid produced by terrestrial and aquatic cyanobacteria and by micro-algae, has been suggested to play a role as an environmental factor in the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-Parkinsonism-Dementia complex (ALS-PDC). The ubiquitous presence of BMAA in aquatic environments and organisms along the food chain potentially makes it public health concerns. However, the BMAA-associated human health risk remains difficult to rigorously assess due to analytical challenges associated with the detection and quantification of BMAA and its natural isomers, 2,4-diamino butyric acid (DAB), β-amino-N
-methyl-alanine (BAMA) and N
-(2-aminoethyl) glycine (AEG). This systematic review, reporting the current knowledge on the presence of BMAA and isomers in aquatic environments and human food sources, was based on a selection and a score numbering of the scientific literature according to various qualitative and quantitative criteria concerning the chemical analytical methods used. Results from the best-graded studies show that marine bivalves are to date the matrix containing the higher amount of BMAA, far more than most fish muscles, but with an exception for shark cartilage. This review discusses the available data in terms of their use for human health risk assessment and identifies knowledge gaps requiring further investigations.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited