> Under Darwinian medicine, this organism may be beneficial to the
> environment. Nature's way of cleaning up the toxic soup so to speak. I am
> wondering if the the pfiesteria may be able to metabolize the toxins in the
> water into this neurotoxin which, although not a nice thing to encounter,
> is probably biodegradable.
Lion >> This does appear to be nature's way of cleaning the toxic soup -- in
that it may lead to widescale starvation of humans, the destruction of
civilization through political upheavals, and the breakage of the
infrastructures which allow global trading in toxic chemicals. This scenario
can unfold IF Pfiesteria Piscacida can hitch-hike on barnacles and make its
way around the world to the other import estuaries of the world. Right now
its confirmed presence is confined to the American East Coast and Gulf Coast.
Pfiesteria does prey on barnacles, lives in salt, fresh, and brackish
water, has a wide temperature latitude and can hibernate as spores for
extensive periods measured in at least years. The estuaries it presently
inhabits are important breeding habitat for commercially valuable deep-ocean
fish. Unknown to many Americans, fish and seafood are much more important in
the diets of many other nations. The food webs are already straining under
the demands of human consumption. Wars between fishing nations go on
regularly, and global fisheries have already been collapsing for decades.
Nature makes many toxins, some as powerful as anything produced in warfare
labs. Botulism, rattlesnake venem and anthrax are examples. Pfiesteria
produces several neurotoxins, some which aerosolize and produce effects just
by being near the water. They are biodegradable over several weeks or months,
but there is no evidence that this is a trade taking MORE harmful toxins and
turning them into LESS toxic chemicals, but the reverse: Pfiesteria thrives on
agricultural nurients and farm and sewage effluents pouring into the
waterways. It then multiplies to numbers which attack and kill literally
billions of fish at one single die-off event. The decaying fish provide food
for additional increase. This is cleaning the environment of living things,
not toxins. Crabs flee the water, fish try to leap out.
> This seems to be how the South American poison frogs develop their poisons:
> from the alkaloids in the large numbers of ants that they eat.
> I wonder if this organism can thrive in clean water or if it requires
> certain chemicals to grow and reproduce?
> Anyone know anything about the biochemistry of the neurotoxin?
> Donna Fezler
Lion >> You can learn a lot from reading the book "And the Waters Turned to
Blood". You can learn a lot about chickanery in the scientific funding and
peer-review process, and you can learn a lot about politico-manipulation of
ignorant voters, and you can learn a lot about what happens when the health
department thinks it's a branch of the department of tourism. I bet you
didn't know that the largest farm sewage spill in American history was twice
the volume of the oil-spill of the famous Exxon Valdez, and you can learn
about that too from this book. If you think this is a crackpot author, Sanet-
Mg is hosted by NCSU.EDU, the state where this book describes the gory
details, so there must be plenty of people who can confirm the details right
The biochemistry is still being worked out. One thing is presently known:
beside water it can live in human blood. It loves human blood so much that it
eats, and eats and eats until it grows twenty times its size, often eating
until it dies from surfeit.
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