Algae, Seafood and Domoic Acid: Should You Be Concerned?

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_24898" align="alignright" width="480"] Steamed mussels - yum![/caption] You are aware that an asp is a poisonous serpent or snake. Cleopatra died from the poison of an asp. But there is another kind of "asp". This kind is an acronym for Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. What's that? Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning As its name implies, amnesic shellfish poisoning is a marine-related illness. It results from consuming domoic acid, an organic acid neurotoxin produced by algae. The algae is eaten by such marine creatures as shellfish, sardines and anchovies. It is theorized a major factor in the increase of such poisonings due to a corresponding increase in algal blooms, apparently fueled by climate change. One recently discovered important source of toxic algal blooms is the phytoplankton pseudo-nitzschia. How Serious a Problem? The algae…
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Volvox Reproduction and Morphogenesis

Biology, Plants
[caption id="attachment_13926" align="alignright" width="440"] Volvox - Frank Fox[/caption] Volvox, volvox reproduction, and what we learn from volvox morphogenesis are not your typical high school topic. Yes, biology is a standard college preparatory course. If it weren't for dissection, it would probably be one of the most popular sciences. Especially would that be so of the fascinating tiny, one-celled creatures. These include: 1. Amoeba 2. Paramecium 3. Euglena1 4. Hydra We learned about small plant forms as well, including: 1. Molds 2. Algae 3. Mosses 4. Lichens We will discuss one form of algae, Volvox of the family Volvocaceae. There are a number of forms of algae. Volvox is one of the green algae – a chlorophyte. Volvox is unique among the chlorophytes. It is most unusual in structure and…
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The Rotifer: Nature’s Vacuum Cleaner

[caption id="attachment_11522" align="alignright" width="440"][/caption] As a child, I was given a small microscope. It wasn’t very powerful, but some small life forms could be seen using it. I visited the fish pond in our back yard and scraped some mossy scum along its bottom. What I saw under the glass surprised me. It looked like an upright vacuum cleaner. It was a rotifer. Ever heard of a rotifer? Rotifers may be seen in this enchanting video... A Brief Description The rotifer has been described as "an animal like a large maggot which could contract itself into a spherical figure and then stretch itself out again; the end of its tail appeared with a forceps like that of an earwig".¹ This may best describe the bdellid rotifer. Its crown features…
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Novel Wastewater Treatment – Reducing Nitrogen and Phosphorus

Biology, Chemistry
[caption id="attachment_19184" align="alignright" width="480"] Wastewater Treatment Plant[/caption] The University of Kansas, in conjunction with the City of Lawrence, Kansas, has been investigating a fascinating approach to reducing nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater. It’s a process, really, that occurs in nature, with a minimum of artificial intervention. Simply put: still water containing an abundance of “nutrients” tends to produce a proliferation of green algae. A Most Interesting Approach Why not take advantage of that fact? And so, they have. In their September 2013 Issue, Treatment Plant Operator (TPO) magazine included a well-written piece by author Doug Day that greatly intrigued me. Not long ago, I was employed as a Wastewater Operator, Level III at the local Nelson County, Virginia treatment plant. I am a retired chemist. I had rejected a career…
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