Global warming spurs spread of toxic bugs, says study

Global warming may be spurring the spread of Cyanobacteria, one of the most primitive of bugs, while causing them to produce greater amounts of toxins, which may affect liver, nervous system and eyes, according to a study.

Published: 04th July 2012 02:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2012 02:49 PM   |  A+A-

Global warming may be spurring the spread of Cyanobacteria, one of the most primitive of bugs, while causing them to produce greater amounts of toxins, which may affect liver, nervous system and eyes, according to a study.

"These toxins may affect the liver and other organs (hepatotoxins), the nervous system (neurotoxins), different cells (cytotoxins), the eyes and mucous membranes, as well as causing dermatitis and allergies," explains Francisca F. del Campo, study co-author and researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid.

"We suspect that these cytotoxins may be behind some gastrointestinal disorders and other illnesses, but epidemiological studies are required to confirm this," says Del Campo, the journal Water Research reports.

"Cyanobacteria love warm water, therefore an increase in temperature during this century may stimulate their growth, especially that of the cytotoxic varieties, which could even produce more toxins and become more harmful," says study co-author Rehab El-Shehawy, from the Instituto Madrileno de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA), Spain.

El-Shehawy's team is working on developing efficient tools to monitor the number of cyanobacteria (which once helped oxygenate the earth's atmosphere) in water, according to a statement of FECYT (Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology).

Blooms of these micro-organisms in lakes, reservoirs and rivers all over the world and in estuaries and seas, such as the Baltic, are becoming a more and more frequent phenomenon. Experts say this poses an economic problem - as it affects water sanitation, shipping and tourism, for example - and an environmental problem.

In Spain, the relation between the proliferations of toxic cyanobacteria in the Donana wetlands and the death rate of wild fauna in this natural space has been confirmed, but of even more concern are its impact on human health.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp