Tag Archives: saxitoxin

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Saxitoxin:
Algal Bloom Neurotoxin

Saxitoxin & Algal Blooms?

Saxitoxin is an extremely dangerous neurotoxin produced in algal blooms. These blooms are caused by the accelerated growth of single cell organisms such as cyanobacteria or dinoflagellates. A “red tide” is simply one manifestation of this.

In freshwater systems, this can be triggered by farm fertilizers which runoff into lakes & rivers when it rains. Phosphates in particular are important triggers to algal blooms since it enhances ATP production, a molecule important to metabolism in both plants & animals.

In marine ecosystems, upwelling of deeper nutrient rich water has much the same effect. While this is a naturally occurring phenomenon, there are indications global warming may be contributing since algal blooms are now seen as far north as Alaska.

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