Cyanobacterial Toxins

Reports of widespread poisoning of animals and humans44 call for due attention to be given to the control of cyanobacterial contaminants. There is no report of cyanobacterial toxins in Arthrospira species to date. Although inadvertent harvest of these toxic species is a risk when harvesting algae from natural bodies of water with mixed phytoplankton populations, it is very unlikely to be a problem in properly controlled and properly managed monoculture of Arthrospira. Nevertheless, it is essential to monitor these cyanobacterial toxins in the product. To this effect, in 1995-1996, a group of leading microalgae and cyanobacteria producers including Cyanotech Corporation and Earthrise Nutritionals LLC sponsored research conducted by phytoplankton toxicologists. The result was a Technical Booklet for the Microalgae Biomass Industry (MBI) as a guide to the use of a very sensitive ELISA and a protein phosphate inhibition assay (PPIA) for the detection of toxic microcystins and nodularins. These methods enable the detection, monitoring, and controlling of cyanotoxins, so producers can assure a safe product for human food supplements.45

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