Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fish-Killing Toxin Could Kill Cancer Cells

Date:
October 4, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
A powerful fish-killing toxin could have cancer-killing properties as well. The toxin, called euglenophycin, has a molecular structure similar to that of solenopsin, an alkaloid from fire ant venom known to inhibit tumor development.

A powerful fish-killing toxin that has caused major losses in commercial ponds of catfish, striped bass and tilapia may also have cancer-killing properties.
Credit: Photo by David Nance

A powerful fish-killing toxin could have cancer-killing properties as well, according to collaborative research led by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Paul V. Zimba and chemist Peter Moeller of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The toxin, called euglenophycin, has a molecular structure similar to that of solenopsin, an alkaloid from fire ant venom known to inhibit tumor development.

Related Articles


The findings were published online in July in the journal Toxicon.

In the summer of 2002, a commercial aquaculture facility in North Carolina reported mysterious fish mortalities in its ponds. More than 21,000 striped bass had died in July and August, resulting in losses of more than $100,000.

To find out why the fish had died, Zimba and Moeller collaborated with Michigan State University biologist Richard Triemer. Zimba works at the ARS Catfish Genetics Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss. The scientists isolated and analyzed dissolved compounds, bacteria and algae from pond water samples.

In a 2004 paper in the Journal of Fish Disease, they identified the culprits as Euglena sanguinea and E. granulata, two species of freshwater algae that had generally been considered benign.

It was the first report of freshwater algae causing fish kills, but it wasn't the last instance of such an event. Zimba and his colleagues have confirmed 11 additional occasions in which euglenoid algae have fatally impacted fish ponds. Losses from these events—which have affected striped bass, tilapia and channel catfish—are estimated to exceed $1.1 million.

Moeller, working in NOAA's Center for Human Health Risk in Charleston, S.C., then purified the active compounds and fully characterized the molecular structure of euglenophycin, the algal toxin responsible for the fish kills. The scientists are seeking patent protection on the toxin, and are currently investigating its properties. Laboratory tests have confirmed that euglenophycin is deadly to fish. Catfish exposed to the purified form of the toxin died within 4 hours of exposure.

One potential use of the toxin is in treating cancer patients. Laboratory tests have shown that even low concentrations of euglenophycin led to a significant decrease in cancer cell growth, and can kill cancer cells. Future tests will attempt to verify whether the toxin can slow or prevent tumor formation. Positive results would indicate that this problematic alga could have beneficial medical applications.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Fish-Killing Toxin Could Kill Cancer Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002104022.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, October 4). Fish-Killing Toxin Could Kill Cancer Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002104022.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Fish-Killing Toxin Could Kill Cancer Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002104022.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins