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Post Info TOPIC: Palytoxin


L

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RE: Palytoxin
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Palytoxin is shrouded in legend. Hawaiian islanders tell of a cursed village in Maui, whose members defied a shark god that had been eating their fellow villagers. They dismembered and burned the god, before scattering his ashes in a tide pool near the town of Hana. Shortly after, a mysterious type of seaweed started growing in the pool. It became known as "limu-make-o-Hana" (deadly seaweed of Hana). If smeared on a spears point, it could instantly kill its victims.
The shark god may have been an elaborate fiction, but in 1961, Philip Helfrich and John Shupe actually found the legendary pool. Within it, they discovered a new species of zoanthid called Palythoa toxica. The limu-make-o-Hana was real, but it wasnt seaweed - it was a type of colonial anemone. In 1971, Richard Moore and Paul Scheuer isolated the chemical responsible for the zoanthids lethal powers  - palytoxin. Now, Jonathan Deeds from the US Food and Drug Administration has found that the poison is readily available in aquarium stores.

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L

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Palytoxin was first isolated from the soft coral Palythoa toxica. Several species of Palythoa are used in aquariums, but do not produce the toxin. Originally, it was only found in a single tidal pool on the island of Maui in Hawaii and native Hawaiians used to coat spear points with a red seaweed from the pool. Toxin-containing corals appear to be randomly and sparingly distributed throughout the South Pacific and there is now a school of thought that suggests that the coral is simply concentrating the toxin made by a dinoflagellate (a small single-celled organism) called Ostreopis siamensis.
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L

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Palytoxin is a very dangerous toxin; it is considered to be one of the most toxic non-peptide substances known, second only to maitotoxin in terms of toxicity towards mice. Palytoxin is a natural compound that is produced by several marine species and can be found in many more species due to accumulation. Palytoxin was originally isolated in 1971 in Hawaii from the seaweed-like coral, "Limu make o hana (Seaweed of Death from Hana)"
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