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Old 03/02/2003, 12:17 PM   #1
musicsmaker
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Exclamation A warning about toxicity. A MUST read.

I'm sure most of you have heard about zoanthids being toxic, but I bet you didn't know just how bad they can be. Here is a link to a thread in the general forum, and some info from a website that talks about natural toxins.

Read this thread. The guy had a real bad experiance, and lost a good friend.

Here is a link to the site that tells about toxins. The quote below is from that site.
Quote:
Palytoxin
The crude ethanol extracts of the Palythoa toxica proved to be so toxic that an accurate LD50 was difficult to determine. More recently, the toxicity has been determined to be 50-100 ng/kg i.p. in mice. The compound is an intense vasoconstrictor; in dogs, it causes death within 5 min at 60 ng/kg. By extrapolation, a toxic dose in a human would be about 4 micrograms. It is the most toxic organic substance known!
Shimizu [27] and Moore [28] published the chemical structure of palytoxin and it was prepared synthetically in 1989 [29,30]. Palytoxin is a fabulously interesting compound, with a bizarre structure and many extraordinary signs (Fig. 6). Palytoxin is a large, very complex molecule with lipophilic and hydrophilic areas. The palytoxin molecule has the longest continuous chain of carbon atoms known to exist in a natural product. In the molecule of palytoxin, C129H223N3O54, 115 of the 129 carbons are in a continuous chain.. There are 54 atoms of oxygen, but only 3 atoms of nitrogen. Another unusual structure of palytoxin is that it contains 64 stereogenic centers, which means that palytoxin can have 264 stereoisomers! Added to this, the double bonds can exhibit cis/trans isomerism, which means that palytoxin can have more than 1021 (one sextilion) stereoisomers! This staggering molecular complexity should indicate the difficult nature of designing a stereocontrolled synthetic strategy that will produce just the one correct (natural) stereocenter out of >1021 possible stereoisomers.
Palytoxin induces powerful membrane depolarization and ionic channeling [31,32]. Palytoxin is a potent hemolysin, histamine releaser, inhibitor of Na/K ATPase, and a cation ionophore [33]. It is also a non-TPA-type tumor promoter [34,35].



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Old 03/05/2003, 11:18 AM   #2
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I haven't been paying any attention to these threads, I'm sometimes guilty of doing that on something I already know. And I didn't read all 5 pages on the thread with the dog, what a bummer, but let me pass this on. Here is how I got a dose. I picked up a group of Palythoa that my Mithrax had moved to the sand. I found a better location and glued it in place. Then I got out Bourneman's book to double check if I got the location right relative to light. Then I read the toxin warning! Can get in through cuts in your hands...my hands are always cut up. Next morning I could hardly move my hands. It went away by mid-day, but it was disconcerting. I use gloves now.

BTW, if you tire of paying $2.95/pair for arm length aquarium gloves, get your Vet to order you a box of veterinary exam gloves. Same thing only $11/hundred. Be sure to tell him arm length, they're for use on cows and horses so your average pooch and poodle vet may not be familiar with them.


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Old 03/05/2003, 11:55 AM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up on the gloves. My puppy is due for another trip ot the vets in 2 weeks. I'll give them a call and see if they can get me some of those gloves by that time.


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Old 03/05/2003, 12:08 PM   #4
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is it possible to losely rubberband them at the wrists to keep the water out? i mean, your arms will still get wet, but your digits will be protected from the toxins- unless your arms also come in direct contact with the zos


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Old 03/05/2003, 12:16 PM   #5
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icebear,
Not sure what you mean. The ones I'm talking about go all the way up to your armpits. If you mean taking standard length exam gloves and using rubber bands...seems like that would work.


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Old 03/05/2003, 12:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by wizardgus
If you mean taking standard length exam gloves and using rubber bands...seems like that would work.
yep, thats what i mean


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Old 03/07/2003, 04:33 PM   #7
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thanks music maker for helping to spread the word... i never even knew zoos were toxic. i was wandering though are they only a real danger when u handle zoos? or can u still get some of the toxin on yourself if u are dealing with something else in the tank...


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Old 03/07/2003, 04:50 PM   #8
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Seems to be by only contact with the zoos, according to Borneman, and thats with All species of Palythoa and most related spieces to include the Protopalythoa species. Kind of cool when you point to a coral in your tank and you can say that is the most dangerous animal on the planet. Kind of niffffty don't ya think.


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Old 03/07/2003, 04:52 PM   #9
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dellrio,

I think the point here is that they are PRETTY toxic. I'm not sure if you could be poisoned by touching the water, but its possible (polyps were torn / cut and they release mucuous to the water, and it could enter through a cut on your hand or arm).

I guess the gist is just be CAREFUL when working with them. As a safety precaution I am ordering those full length gloves and will be installing a door to my fishroom to keep MY dog out of there, god forbid he decides to chew on a random polyp I missed...... These things are toxic, and though there are no known human deaths that I can speak of, several people have published that they were poisoned by some pretty peculiar means (Anthony Calfo got hit when he wiped his mouth with a fishroom towel that had been used whil he was fragging earlier in the day). Not exactly one of the ways I would have been wary of, but it shows that there are a few ways to become poisoned by it.....

I also did a search on google for "palytoxin" and had to look at the cached sites to see the data, but here are some quotes:

"Solubility : Very soluble in water. "

"Palytoxins are stable in seawater and lower alcohols"

"Onset of Symptoms : Rapid, with death occurring within minutes "

"Palytoxin acts at the cell membranes to make them permeable to cations - positively charged ions, typically sodium, potassium, and calcium. Many functions of cells depend upon controlling the flow of these ions in and out of the cell, so disrupting this traffic is very dangerous.

At the physiological level, the most sensitive target is the myocardium, or muscular component of the heart, and the primary effect is vasoconstriction or rapid narrowing of blood vessels in the heart and in the lungs. Another effect is hemolysis, or the destruction of the red blood cells. These three effects taken together cut off the oxygen supply and the victim suffocates. "

"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. "

just food for thought....


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Last edited by Nagel; 03/07/2003 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 03/07/2003, 05:27 PM   #10
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I think if you died by a Zooanthid poisioning episode that would definatly get you a spot in the Darwin awards. LOL

Local man killed by coral poision.


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Old 03/20/2003, 11:49 AM   #11
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I've seen a lot on how dangerous this toxin is, but is there any danger of this toxin affecting other corals or fish in the tank? Just curious. If my zoos get upset one day and release toxin could it cause a system crash?


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Old 03/26/2003, 05:21 AM   #12
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Thank you for everyones' input on this. It is certanly something to think about. Appreciate it.

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Old 03/30/2003, 07:53 PM   #13
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Marine Toxins Origin, Structure, and Molecular Pharmacology

Hi,
I recently discovered this book at my local University Library. It has extensive information on Palytoxin (from zooanthids). There is information about antidotes to palytoxin.

Quote:
Palytoxin is one of the most potent coronary vasoconstrictors known, producing death by the iv route within minutes by diminishing the supply of oxygen to the myocardium. Tests in animals with a number of vasdilators showed that papaverine and isosorbid dinitrate are effective antidotes, but must be injected directly into the ventricle of the heart because of the speed of the action of the toxin.
Long story short:
papaverine and isosorbid dinitrate are effective antidotes according to this work.


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Old 04/02/2003, 06:23 PM   #14
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Do you have the reference information for that book? I'd like to check it out, too.


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Old 04/02/2003, 09:43 PM   #15
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Hey Madness

Here's the APA citation of the book:

Hall, Sherwood & Strichartz, Gary (1990). Marine Toxins Origin, Structure, and Molecular Pharmacology. Woods Hole, Massachusetts: Published through an interagency agreement between: U.S. Army Medial Research, Institute of Infectious Diseases, The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

ISBN #: 0-8412-1733-5

Its an awesome book IMHO. The talk about palytoxins, peptide toxins, and general considerations (misc toxins).

HTH,
Kevin


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Old 05/01/2003, 04:42 PM   #16
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I just got my first Zoanthids, and had looked over (not read fully) the warnings on toxicity. I used normal latex exam gloves when handling my Zo's and getting ready to place them in the tank. Undoubtedly they are producing as much toxin as possible after a stressful trip, but I was only really concerned about direct contact with them.....

Driving home at lunch my upper arm was burning. I looked at it and about a 3in circle around the very smallest of wounds (where I scratched out an ingrown hair) was very red, raised, and very sensitive to the touch. It persisted for a few hours.

Not deadly toxic....that time, but enough to really get my attention. Should get yours as well.


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Old 05/02/2003, 06:32 AM   #17
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That's wierd.

I've been using my hands, just washing good. This stuff sounds freaky.


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Old 05/02/2003, 08:12 AM   #18
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It's nothing to freak out about, just a word of caution. Letting someone handle these things without knowing would be like handing a loaded gun to someone and telling them it wasn't loaded. Just be careful, that's all.


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Old 05/05/2003, 11:13 AM   #19
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thank you all for the warning!

I was wondering, if using a latex glove to handle them, is there any concern with the latex particals that would be left in the tank from the gloves? I know the gloves i have are covered in a fine powder. of course rinsing this off would help, but you can never get it all off. What do you think?

russel


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Old 05/08/2003, 12:41 PM   #20
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First, sorry to hear about the dog's death.

I have been reading this thread with interest as I have many different kinds of polyps (Zoanthids) in my aquarium and have handled them bare handed with cuts in my fingers with no ill effects. Either I am lucky or I don't have toxic zoanthids. from now on I'll be careful and wearing gloves is a good idea.

My questions are related to the association between the death of the dog and the zoanthids.

Without a blood sample from the dog showing the toxin (I don't know how the toxin is metabolized once in the body or how to detect it) and also without analysis of the zoanthid in the tank for the toxin, scientifically we can't draw a firm conclusion that the zoanthids were toxic and killed the dog.

If this is what really happened then you should immedialtely get rid of those zoanthids.

A simple experiment would be to feed some of those zoanthids to an experimental animal (mouse or rat) and see the effect to duplicate what happened to the dog. Of course we need to know the LD50 (the dose at which 50% of the experimental animals will die)

What we really need, as previuosly mentioned, is a book about the toxicology of aquarium species (corals, fish etc.) with pictures for identification, type of toxins, clinical side effects and symptoms, antidodes if available etc. Who ever comes out with such a book will make a bundle!

Just my 2 cents.

Good thread


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Old 05/15/2003, 08:37 PM   #21
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I have a guinea pig! My Moorish Idol likes to eat zoanthids. There are about twenty different varieties in my tank and he seems to have sampled most. He is still alive and kicking after feeding on them for nearly a year!? Perhaps mine aren’t toxic or Moorish Idols are immune from the most toxic natural organic substance.


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Old 05/16/2003, 04:28 PM   #22
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Ok, I'm confused. This is supposed to be the most deadly toxin in the world but when dcowling got some, just his arm burned. If you get tagged by a Black Mamba, you'd be dead before you hit the ground. How does it not kill the fish and everything else in the aquarium?


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Old 06/04/2003, 04:56 AM   #23
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corals found in the aquarium trade DO NOT contain palytoxin..and its not in zoanthus at all-but rather in palythoa-and only a few species(once again-not available in the trade)contain it...

zooanthids are perfectly harmless-all the hype about this is getting pretty rediculous

can anyone refute what im saying at all??-and produce the data to back it up?ill gladly eat my words if you can( and maybe even be more careful in the future)..but if you cant-all youre doing is feeding a senseless paranoia..


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Old 06/19/2003, 01:32 PM   #24
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WOW, I have been handling zoo's for months now with no gloves... I had no idea. This explains my sore/stiff hands. Time to buy gloves. But I still love zoo's. I learn something new everyday on reef central.


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Old 06/19/2003, 05:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by intheband
corals found in the aquarium trade DO NOT contain palytoxin..and its not in zoanthus at all-but rather in palythoa-and only a few species(once again-not available in the trade)contain it...

zooanthids are perfectly harmless-all the hype about this is getting pretty rediculous

can anyone refute what im saying at all??-and produce the data to back it up?ill gladly eat my words if you can( and maybe even be more careful in the future)..but if you cant-all youre doing is feeding a senseless paranoia..
Could you please provide the source that you found this information in? Considering someone lost a pet, someone has to go to the hospital, and several people have reported "tripping" after comming into contact with certain palythoa, I don't believe this is correct.

Kevin


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