Science

Global Warming Effects Produce Toxic Shellfish That Can Lead To Consumer Deaths

By Donna Marie Lapena Padua , Jan 10, 2017 09:29 AM EST
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The worsening effects of global warming is causing shellfish to produce a potentially deadly neurotoxin. This mysterious substance growing in shellfishes reportedly can cause memory loss and even death among consumers. This dilemma is said to be triggered by warming ocean waters brought about by the drastic change in the climate.

The new findings about the effects of global warming reveal that shellfish can develop poisons that was discovered to cause Alzheimer's disease-like illness and death among humans consuming the sea product. The discovery though reportedly can help fisheries to determine which species are affected by the dilemma, making it possible for them to protect consumers. It is however expected that more dangerous neurotoxins will follow suit as the global warming keeps on getting worse.

A study regarding the neurotoxins of shellfish and global warming was published last Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Warming ocean waters are basically caused by two climatic cycles being El Nino and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). From this global warming effect, research reveals how shellfishes can be lethal as findings show that warmer ocean water can increase the Domoic acid in the said aquaculture product.

The Domoic acid is a natural and powerful substance produced by a type of plankton which is ingested by shellfish. This, when warmed, can cause serious health effects in humans and animals which according to Gazette Times can trigger seizures and gastrointestinal illnesses and death. "The shellfish that eat these algae blooms don't seem to be affected by the toxin," Morgaine McKibben of the University of Oregon, tells PopSci.

Following this fact, the neurotoxin will be carried over to the animals or consumers that will eat shellfish and will be the ones to suffer from the dangerous effects of Domoic acid. Among the discovered effects of the toxin are seizures and memory loss. A research revealed that the toxin can cause memory loss among sea lions and death among whales and seabirds. There were also reports of deaths among humans that consumed contaminated shellfish.

Being able to point out the source of the neurotoxin, authors of the research said that danger in the human food supply can now be eliminated. Although the problem is basically caused by the natural phenomena brought about by global warming, aquaculture companies can now determine which shellfish are safe to consume and which are not.

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