US researcher finds high mercury levels in Mazaruni River

first_imgA Sam Huston State University Professor, conducting research documenting the effects of mercury contamination in freshwater fishes and food webs in the Mazaruni River and tributaries, has found higher than normal levels of mercury in the fishes as well as the water.Dr Carmen Montaña-Schalk from the Department of Biological Sciences has been conducting research in the Mazaruni area for the past two years, and has published some of her preliminary findings over the past week.“Preliminary results by Dr Montaña-Schalk suggest a strong potential for bio-accumulation of mercury in the aquatic food web. For instance, large fish predators contain greater concentrations of mercury.Dr. Montaña-Schalk has also observed that several fishes important in local human diets had Hg (mercury) levels higher (> 1 mg Hg/kg) than the threshold proposed by the World Health Organization (0.5 mg Hg /kg). Therefore, local communities along the Mazaruni River are exposed to dangerous levels of mercury through consumption of fish as well as piscivorous wildlife,” the paper stated.Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) is predominantly a mining region, and mercury plays a large part in gold recovery there. The Mazaruni River houses one of the world’s greatest concentrations of freshwater biodiversity, and contains high levels of species endemism, with a number of Amerindian communities relying on those fishes for their food. The Mazaruni area is home to thousands of Amerindians.Dr Montaña-Schalk has said that a major problem facing the freshwater biodiversity in Guyana is habitat transformation via deforestation for gold mining operations and the release of mercury from alluvial gold mining activities into water bodies. She said that although there are studies documenting the presence of mercury in freshwater fishes and alluvial sediments in rivers of Guyana, very little still is known about the synergic effects of gold mining or mercury contamination in all components of the aquatic food web and the pathways for inorganic mercury to be converted into organic methyl mercury.For the last two years, Dr Montaña-Schalk and colleagues from University of Guyana have been surveying tributaries of the Mazaruni River, and documenting fish diversity and mercury accumulation on fishes inhabiting these rivers. She documented that, every year, the effects of gold mining operations are greater.There are more gold dredges in the main channel operating 24/7, but also high inland deforestation to establish inland mining operations. Gold mining activities significantly alter local habitats and downstream waterbodies.“The most noticeable effects in the ecosystem are high turbidity in the water and sediments accumulation. This is particularly concerning, because some species endemic to the Mazaruni Basin appear highly associated with the main channel habitats…post-mining results are having adverse and detrimental effects on natural resources, including biodiversity and the environment. We have observed severely degraded aquatic ecosystems, decline in fish diversity, and mercury accumulation in fishes used as food resources by locals.All of this is of great concern, and requires immediate attention that involves conservation monitoring and restoration initiatives,” she said.Dr Montaña-Schalk will continue her research to serve first-hand information for policy makers to address the threats on fish species in Mazaruni due to mercury contamination.Last week, the Guyana Water Inc announced that the Kaituma River was found to have a high mercury content. GWI Managing Director Dr Richard Van West-Charles had stated that samples had been taken from the river, and the results have shown levels of 0.016mg/L, which are more than the accepted World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) 0.006mg/L standard.last_img read more


first_imgShay Given is expected to sign a two-year deal with Middlesbrough later today. .FOOTBALL: Republic of Ireland international Shay Given is set to complete his transfer from Aston Villa to Middlesbrough later today.Given had a successful loan spell at Middlesbrough in November 2013.Given produced some outstanding performances and was a hugely popular figure with the fans during his spell and the club were desperate to keep him at the club. However, he returned to Aston Villa and eventually reclaimed the No.1 jersey at Villa Park.Given last played for Aston Villa in the FA Cup final in May.Unfortunately for the Lifford man – Villa went down 4-0 to a rampant Arsenal side.Despite the heavy defeat Given produced a number of superb saves in the game and also retained his place in the Ireland side for their crucial EURO 2016 clash with Scotland in June. Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has agreed to release Given from the last year of his contract with the club which has paved the way for his move to the Riverside stadium.Given is expected to complete the formalities later this afternoon.  SHAY GIVEN SET TO SIGN TWO-YEAR DEAL WITH MIDDLESBROUGH was last modified: July 8th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Aston VillaHome-page SportMiddlesbroughnewsShay Givenlast_img read more

Beehives Kept on the Roof of Notre Dame Remarkably Survived Through the

first_imgIt’s a little known fact that Parisians are keeping beehives on the rooftops of their best-known buildings. Not all, but bees are found for instance at the Musée d’Orsay, the Grand Palais, and Palais Garnier, as well as Notre Dame — which on April 15th, was sadly engulfed by a huge fire in which its spire and most of the roof collapsed within a few hours. Early investigation results have shown that the fire may have spread due to a possible fire alarm system sensor issue. The fire may also be related to the building of elevators for construction work that was ongoing in the cathedral at the time. Investigators are also seeking to find out whether an electrical short-circuit led to the appalling event.Photo by Philippe Wang/Getty ImagesBut back to the bees. For the past few years, Notre Dame has been the home of approximately 180,000 bees. Their three hives are secured on the first floor roof above the sacristy of the Gothic structure. It was initially thought that the colony must have perished in the fire but Notre Dame’s own beekeeper (apiculteur in French), Nicolas Géant, has confirmed that against all odds, the bees made it through the blaze.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsThe news that the Notre Dame bees are safe and sound was shared also by French urban beekeeping company Beeopic Apiculture, who posted a confirmatory Instagram photo on Thursday, April 18th.Notre-Dame after the fire. Photo by Pyb CC BY-SA 4.0However, in the days in between, everyone remained worried about Notre Dame’s smallest, honey-making tenants. As French officers were examining the building if it has any weak points that may still threaten structural failure, not even Mr. Géant was allowed to take a look at the hives. Géant had in the meantime received hundreds of messages asking about the bees. Aerial photos of Notre Dame’s roof previously showed the hives themselves had survived the great calamity.The bees living on Notre Dame’s roof survived the fire— CNN (@CNN) April 21, 2019Géant has been taking care of the cathedral’s bees since 2013, the year this sort of clandestine activity first started there. Bee-keeping was introduced on Notre Dame as part of an effort to increase the number of bees across Paris. Honeymaking has since rooted in businesses within the French capital, with some of its honey being sold at double the prices of brands produced in the countryside.Photo by Remi Mathis CC By SA 4.0The Notre Dame beehives were located on the top of a sacristy on the south side of the cathedral, roughly 100 feet away from where the blaze was ravaging. That was enough distance for the hives to remain intact. But had they been closer to the fire, or in the middle of it, the wax within the hives would have easily melted, trapping the hard-working insects inside. Géant commented that the survival of the bees was like a miracle. “Thank goodness the flames didn’t touch them,” he said in a statement for CNN. Take a closer look with this video:Typically for bees found in Europe, the ones on Notre Dame would have sought shelter inside the hives upon sensing the imminent threat nearby. The biggest threat for them would have been the extreme heat of the raging flames, but as Mr. Géant also explains, they were exposed to the smoke which has a specific effect on bees in general.180,000 bees were living on top of Notre Dame when the fire broke out – and they survived— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 21, 2019“Instead of killing them, the carbon dioxide makes them drowsy, puts them to sleep,” Mr. Géant told the AP. Smoke is frequently used by beekeepers to sedate bee colonies. This allows for the beekeeper to approach the hive and access the much-treasured honey produced there. “I was incredibly sad about Notre-Dame because it’s such a beautiful building,” Mr. Géant commented.Photo credit LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images“But to hear there is life when it comes to the bees, that’s just wonderful,” he said.Read another story from us: How the Hunchback of Notre Dame Once Saved the Crumbling CathedralBeekeeping on Parisian rooftops has increased in popularity within the past decade. Just ten years ago, the city reportedly had approximately 300 hives, and today there is an estimated 700. More often than not, the general public is unaware of where these hives are being quietly kept. In his media statements, Mr. Géant was also noted as saying that it had always been one of his dreams to take care of bees atop “the most beautiful church in the world.”last_img read more

Therapeutic RNA corrects error in genetic processing that leads to familial dysautonomia

first_imgApr 30 2018Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have identified a therapeutic RNA molecule that corrects the error in genetic processing that leads to familial dysautonomia, a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder. The experiments, conducted in cells sampled from patients and in a mouse model of the disease, provide proof of the team’s therapeutic concept.Familial dysautonomia, or FD, occurs primarily in people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. It impairs the development and function of the autonomic nervous system, causing problems with involuntary body functions, such as breathing, digestion, and blood-pressure regulation.Those affected carry a mutation in a gene called IKBKAP, which reduces cells’ ability to produce the IKAP protein. Now, researchers led by CSHL Professor Adrian Krainer, together with their collaborators at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, have used a synthetic piece of RNA to enable human and mouse cells to produce normal levels of IKAP, despite the presence of the disease mutation.Related StoriesUsing Light Scattering to Characterize Protein-Nucleic Acid InteractionsBruker launches timsTOF fleX with ESI/MALDI capability for SpatialOMx at ASMS 2019Human body is a mosaic pattern of DNA mutations, say researchersThe RNA-like molecule–known as an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)–was injected into mice whose cells carry the human IKBKAP mutation that causes FD. It corrects an error in what scientists call RNA splicing that prevents people with FD from manufacturing sufficient functional IKAP protein. A drug based on the same ASO might be used to overcome the same mutation in people with familial dysautonomia, Krainer says.The findings, reported today in Nucleic Acids Research, come less than two years after the FDA approved nusinersen (marketed as Spinraza), an ASO that Krainer’s lab developed in collaboration with Ionis Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of another neurodegenerative disorder called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).In their work on SMA, Krainer’s team had shown that an ASO designed to bind to an RNA near a defective splice site could correct splicing and induce production of functional, full-length protein. They followed the same strategy in the newly published research on FD.They designed and screened dozens of ASOs that bind to IKBKAP’s RNA, looking for one that most efficiently restored normal splicing. “We used the same chemistry as we did for Spinraza, because we know that drug is well tolerated and it’s very effective and stable in the central nervous system,” Krainer says.The team demonstrated that when they administered the ASO to mice harboring the mutant human IKBKAP gene, it reached various tissues, including the nervous system, and corrected splicing. More importantly, it restored production of full-length IKAP protein.Further testing is needed to determine whether it will be appropriate to move the ASO into clinical trials. But following the success of nusinersen, Krainer is optimistic that his team has identified a promising strategy for potentially treating familial dysautonomia. Source: read more