Abstract in English:Cassava is a widely grown root crop which accumulates two cyanogenic glucosides, linamarin and lotaustralin. Linamarin accounts for more than 80% of the cassava cyanogenic glucosides. It is a ß-glucoside of acetone cyanohydrin and ethyl-methyl-ketone-cyanohydrin. Linamarin ß-linkage can only be broken under high pressure, high temperature and use of mineral acids, while its enzymatic break occurs easily. Linamarase, an endogenous cassava enzyme, can break this ß-linkage. The enzymatic reaction occurs under optimum conditions at 25ºC, at pH 5.5 to 6.0. Linamarin is present in all parts of the cassava plant, being more concentrated on the root and leaves. If the enzyme and substrate are joined, a good detoxification can occur. All the cassava plant species are known to contain cyanide. Toxicity caused by free cyanide (CN¯) has already been reported, while toxicity caused by glucoside has not. The lethal dose of CN¯ is 1 mg/kg of live weight; hence, cassava root classification into toxic and non-toxic depending on the amount of cyanide in the root. Should the cyanide content be high enough to exceed such a dose, the root is regarded as toxic. Values from 15 to 400 ppm (mg CN¯/kg of fresh weight) of hydrocyanic acid in cassava roots have been mentioned in the literature. However, more frequent values in the interval 30 to 150 ppm have been observed. Processed cassava food consumed in Brazil is safe in regard to cyanide toxicity.
Abstract in English:A sandwich-type ELISA technique for specific and sensitive detection of Crotalus durissus terrificus venom antigens, horse-antivenom, human IgG and IgM antibodies was set up. Sixteen patients, 13 males and 3 females aged between 13 to 63 years (mean 33 ± 15) bitten by Crotalus durissus terrificus snakes were studied. Of the 15 patients, 6 had previously received anti-Crotalus venom and no seric venom was detected. For the other 9 patients studied, the venom levels ranged from 2 to 108 ng/ml according to the severity of each case. Seric antivenom was detected up to 44 days after the bite. IgM human antibody levels against Crotalus venom were higher between 3 and 18 days after specific treatment. IgG human antibody levels against Crotalus venom were detected between 30 and 90 days after envenoming. Venom and antivenom levels in cerebrospinal fluid were not observed 24 h after the bite. This suggests that neither the venom nor the antivenom is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. In addition, when either the venom or the antivenom is presented to the immune system cells an immune response is prepared.
Abstract in English:We have already shown the presence of guanidine neurotoxins in calcareous red algae and mussels collected in the São Sebastião channel (State of São Paulo, Brazil). It is known that these neurotoxins comprise more than 25 analogues such as tetrodotoxin (TTX) and derivatives plus the paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) found in a variety of marine, freshwater and amphibious species. Filter feeding animals generally possess large amounts of these neurotoxins. The tunicates are sessil marine animals with a high rate of sea water filtration. The tunics and siphons of 50 specimens of Phallusia nigra were dissected and the visceral organs were immersed in methanol containing acetic acid 0.02 N pH 5.0. The extract was prepared by homogenization, filtration and the methanolic phase was concentrated under reduced pressure and defatted with chloroform. The polar phase was evaporated and the residue dissolved in deionized water for further purification in ionic-exchange resin column (Bio-Gel P-2) and HPLC analysis. The extract showed paralytic effects on mouse assay (26.9 MU/100mg) and on crustacean isolated nerve preparations. The chemical analysis for TTX and PST revealed toxins with retention times similar to gonyautoxins, saxitoxins and TTX. These findings are important to explain future toxin envenoming outbreaks on the Brazilian coast.
Abstract in English:The effect of pheromones and their chemical analogues in honeybee alarm behaviors was studied in observation boxes. Defensive behaviors, as follows: a) attraction to scent source, b) elevation of wings in "V", c) abdomen elevation, d) abdomen elevation and pumping and e) first leg pair elevation had been temporarily registered when the following compounds were presented: isoamyl alcohol, octyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, n-butyl acetate, n-octyl acetate, isopentyl acetate, benzyl acetate and 2-heptanone. The results were as follows: 1. the bees elicited some characteristic behaviors when chemical alarm messages were presented, 2. agression (stinging) was not completed with any compound tested, probably because there was not a target (visual stimulus), 3. in all situations the attraction to scent source was low, 4. all the behaviors were elicited in a temporarily different way, 5. the compounds that elicited stronger responses and a greater number of the investigated behaviors were: isopentyl acetate, 2-heptanone, octyl acetate and n-octyl alcohol. In all situations, the first behavior response (and the most intense one) was the elevation and pumping the abdomen. This suggests that the chemical message was promptly recognized and then transmitted to each worker. So, the results obtained in the present work, suggest that chemical alarm messages may be recognized by different mechanisms of neural integration.
Abstract in English:The present paper aimed at testing the action of non-lyophilized venom of Africanized bees Apis mellifera through topical applications on Diatraea saccharalis egg masses. The CL50, DL50 and the most susceptible age of eggs to the venom topic application were also determined. Three-day-old eggs were the most susceptible to the venom action with CL50 equal to 8.6 mg/ml and DL50 equal to 0.173 mg/mass. The venom loses its action after being stored for 15 days.
Abstract in English:In vitro toxicity assays were performed using Duvernoy's gland secretions from the African boomslang, Dispholidus typus, and isolated rat duodenum and frog sciatic nerve-gastrocnemius muscle preparations. The Duvernoy's gland secretions of D. typus had no apparent effect on the frog sciatic nerve-gastrocnemius muscle preparation. The secretions produced an increase in baseline tonus and an increase in the rhythmic contractile force of the rat duodenum, but had no significant effect on the frequency of contractions. Atropine sulfate (10<img SRC="Image2369.gif" WIDTH="12" HEIGHT="12"> M) effectively antagonized the excitatory effects of the Duvernoy's gland secretions at concentrations 200 µg/ml. Although the coagulopathic effects of D. typus are well documented, this report provides preliminary data indicating effects of this venom on neuromuscular preparations.