Get Toxins essential facts below. View Videos or join the Toxins discussion. Add Toxins to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms
A toxin is a harmful substance produced within living cells or organisms; synthetic toxicants created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849-1919), derived from the word toxic.
Toxins are often distinguished from other chemical agents by their method of production--the word toxin does not specify method of delivery (compare with venom and the broader meaning of poison--all substances that can also cause disturbances to organisms). It simply means it is a biologically produced poison.
According to an International Committee of the Red Cross review of the Biological Weapons Convention, "Toxins are poisonous products of organisms; unlike biological agents, they are inanimate and not capable of reproducing themselves", and "Since the signing of the Constitution, there have been no disputes among the parties regarding the definition of biological agents or toxins".
Biotoxins vary greatly in purpose and mechanism, and can be highly complex (the venom of the cone snail contains dozens of small proteins, each targeting a specific nerve channel or receptor), or relatively small protein.
Necrotoxins cause necrosis (i.e., death) in the cells they encounter. Necrotoxins spread through the bloodstream. In humans, skin and muscle tissues are most sensitive to necrotoxins. Organisms that possess necrotoxins include:
Neurotoxins primarily affect the nervous systems of animals. The group neurotoxins generally consists of ion channel toxins that disrupt ion channel conductance. Organisms that possess neurotoxins include:
Many animals and insects employ toxins for defence and predation all around the planet. We must be aware that even a little amount of poison may cause sickness and kill thousands of people. Due to the fact that a wide range of poisons can be employed as terrorist weapons, terrorists may have access to these toxins. Terrorists using poisons is the most hazardous circumstance for toxins. Therefore it is very important that we should learn more about Biological Warfare and how we can protect ourselves in such conditions.
The term "environmental toxin" can sometimes explicitly include synthetic contaminants such as industrial pollutants and other artificially made toxic substances. As this contradicts most formal definitions of the term "toxin", it is important to confirm what the researcher means when encountering the term outside of microbiological contexts.
Environmental toxins from food chains that may be dangerous to human health include:
In general, when scientists determine the amount of a substance that may be hazardous for humans, animals and/or the environment they determine the amount of the substance likely to trigger effects and if possible establish a safe level. In Europe, the European Food Safety Authority produced risk assessments for more than 4,000 substances in over 1,600 scientific opinions and they provide open access summaries of human health, animal health and ecological hazard assessments in their: OpenFoodTox database. The OpenFoodTox database can be used to screen potential new foods for toxicity.
The Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) at the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) maintains a comprehensive toxicology and environmental health web site that includes access to toxins-related resources produced by TEHIP and by other government agencies and organizations. This web site includes links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other scientific and consumer-oriented resources. TEHIP also is responsible for the Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web.
The use of detoxification or detox as justification for treatments, such as infrared saunas, diets,chiropractic treatments, is often called the toxin gambit, referring to a marketing technique which can frighten the public into seeking treatments that claim to remove unspecified toxins. These claims can be harmful financially and physically. According to Steven Novella, in his article Detox Scams are Worthless and Potentially Dangerous, healthy kidneys and liver are all that most people need to remove anything potentially toxic.
^Vale C, Alfonso A, Vieytes MR, Romarís XM, Arévalo F, Botana AM, Botana LM (March 2008). "In vitro and in vivo evaluation of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin potency and the influence of the pH of extraction". Analytical Chemistry. 80 (5): 1770-6. doi:10.1021/ac7022266. PMID18232710.
^Oikawa H, Fujita T, Saito K, Satomi M, Yano Y (2008). "Difference in the level of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin accumulation between the crabs Telmessus acutidens and Charybdis japonica collected in Onahama, Fukushima Prefecture". Fisheries Science. 73 (2): 395-403. doi:10.1111/j.1444-2906.2007.01347.x. S2CID22926782.
^Abouabdellah R, Taleb H, Bennouna A, Erler K, Chafik A, Moukrim A (April 2008). "Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin profile of mussels Perna perna from southern Atlantic coasts of Morocco". Toxicon. 51 (5): 780-6. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2007.12.004. PMID18237757.
^Wang L, Liang XF, Zhang WB, Mai KS, Huang Y, Shen D (November 2009). "Amnesic shellfish poisoning toxin stimulates the transcription of CYP1A possibly through AHR and ARNT in the liver of red sea bream Pagrus major". Marine Pollution Bulletin. 58 (11): 1643-8. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.07.004. PMID19665739.
^Wang L, Vaquero E, Leão JM, Gogo-Martínez A, Rodríguez Vázquez JA (2001). "Optimization of conditions for the liquid chromatographic-electrospray lonization-mass spectrometric analysis of amnesic shellfish poisoning toxins". Chromatographia. 53 (1): S231-35. doi:10.1007/BF02490333. S2CID97937094.
^Mouratidou T, Kaniou-Grigoriadou I, Samara C, Kouimtzis T (August 2006). "Detection of the marine toxin okadaic acid in mussels during a diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) episode in Thermaikos Gulf, Greece, using biological, chemical and immunological methods". The Science of the Total Environment. 366 (2-3): 894-904. Bibcode:2006ScTEn.366..894M. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2005.03.002. PMID16815531.
^Morohashi A, Satake M, Murata K, Naoki H, Kaspar HF, Yasumoto T (1995). "Brevetoxin B3, a new brevetoxin nalog isolated from the greenshell mussel perna canaliculus involved in neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in new zealand". Tetrahedron Letters. 36 (49): 8995-98. doi:10.1016/0040-4039(95)01969-O.