Plankton with “zombie acid” found in waters off Vladivostok

Plankton has been found in the waters of Vladivostok that may pose a potential threat to the human brain. The single-cell organism, known as Pseudo-nitzschia, contains domoic acid, which can cause neurological disorders, including loss of short-term memory, seizures and tremors. This discovery was made at the Zhirmunsky National Research Center for Marine Biology.

The marine diatom algae Pseudo-nitzschia has attracted the attention of researchers because of its ability to produce domoic acid, which is a neurotoxin. It belongs to the class of excitatory amino acids and is an agonist of glutamate-ionotropic receptors in the mammalian central nervous system. This means that it can affect brain function and cause adverse health effects in humans.

The researchers noticed changes in plankton blooms in the Ussuri Bay since 2017. The emergence of new species of single-celled organisms has led to the disruption of the ecosystem and the spread of domoic acid. This may pose a threat to shellfish and other marine organisms, as well as coastal ecosystems.

Every year, many cases of intoxication are reported worldwide after consuming toxins found in microalgae. This most often occurs after consuming meals made from marine delicacies. Therefore, the detection of potentially harmful plankton in Vladivostok’s water area raises serious concerns.

In addition to the threat to human health, domoic acid can also cause significant economic losses for aquaculture farms. This may entail a decrease in seafood production and damage to marine fauna.

At present, dangerous concentrations of domoic acid have not been detected in other Russian regions, with the exception of Vladivostok. This makes the water area of this city particularly vulnerable and requires measures to prevent further spread of plankton.

The spread of plankton caused an ecological disaster in Kamchatka in 2020, when thousands of marine life died due to “zombie acid.” This name was given to a poisonous substance contained in plankton. This event emphasizes the seriousness of the problem and the need to take measures to protect the marine environment.

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