NOAA and Partner Scientists Discover Way to Detect Low-level Exposure to Seafood Toxin in marine animals
NOAA scientists and their colleagues have discovered a biological marker in the blood of laboratory zebrafish and marine mammals that shows when they have been repeatedly exposed to low levels of domoic acid, which is potentially toxic at high levels.
While little is known about how low-level exposure to domoic acid affects marine animals or humans, high-level exposure through eating contaminated seafood can be toxic, and can lead to amnesic shellfish poisoning, with symptoms such as seizures, short-term memory loss, and, in rare cases, death. Domoic acid is produced by particular species of marine algae and accumulates in marine animals such as clams and mussels.
Funding for the study was provided by The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms program.