Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Natural products from cyanobacteria for cancer therapies?

A press release notes:

Cyanobacteria, also referred to as blue-green algae or pond scum, is found in nearly every habitat, from oceans to fresh water to bare rocks to soil, and is a source of many unique chemical structures. UIC researchers, led by principal investigator Jimmy Orjala, assistant professor of pharmacognosy, will collect small samples of pond scum throughout the Midwest and grow them in liquid solutions in a temperature-controlled laboratory.

Using methodology he developed to speed up drug discovery from blue-green algae, Orjala will be able to identify pure active compounds at submilligram levels.

"Our goal is to discover naturally occurring anticancer lead compounds that will be more effective than currently available cancer chemotherapeutic agents," Orjala said. If any appear promising, the researchers will grow larger amounts for further evaluation.

Separately, of "blooms":

Blooms occur when the right conditions are met, including warm water temperatures and the presence of large quantities of nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorous. Water temperature goes up as water volume goes down, due to consumption and dehydration. Water temperature also rises as air temperatures go up. Water temperature goes up much quicker and higher in shallow, stagnant sources. Water temperature goes up higher in bodies of water that have bare ground around them than in ponds that have grass and weeds up to the water. Nutrient levels in ponds rise due to fertilizer or manure run-off.


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