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The Poisoning Needle - Essay Example

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The birds behaved weirdly, crashing into the window panes, breaking through and attacking people, leaving many dead and injured. This specie of the birds was generally quite nonaggressive in…
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The Poisoning Needle
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Download file to see previous pages ter 1987, a similar unanticipated and unexpected accident happened in a range of restaurants in Canada located around the Prince Edward Island (Larner 2008, 203). In a matter of few hours, hundreds of people became severely ill after eating the cultured blue mussels in the restaurants. It was not an ordinary food poisoning accident. It was much more than that as it caused short-term memory loss in many of the victims. Symptoms were far more serious and diversified than what are caused by food poisoning. “Vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and incapacitating headaches were followed by confusion, loss of memory, disorientation, and (in severe cases) seizures and coma” (Senese 2010). The accident caused death of three elderly victims.
It was the result of a strange syndrome that was named “amnesic shellfish poisoning.” There was a strong need to identify the cause of accident in order to prevent further accidents of the like. Therefore, the Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO), Canada quickly formed a team of chemists and marine biologists to carry out the research and identify the toxic agent (gov.pe.ca 2004). It was a very cumbersome job, as the team was entitled to identify a toxic agent from among thousands of chemicals present in the blue mussels and to top it all, they were unaware of the properties of the strange toxic agent as they were yet to be found.
A strategy based on the divide-and-discard process was adopted to identify the toxic agent. The experiment was conducted over mice and the samples causing the mice to display strange behavior were collected and processed further. The staged and organized process adopted by the team to identify the toxic agent is shown in the figure below:
Presence of the same domoic acid in the small fish eaten by the birds gone crazy in 1961 and in the blue mussels consumed by people in 1987 caused two of the strangest accidents in the history. After an extensive research, it was found that domoic acid was present in a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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