Environmental Health Report: BMAA in Cyanobacteria from Aotearoa NZ development plan
β-N-methylaminoalanine (BMAA) is suspected to be associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinsonism-dementia complex and is thought to be produced by cyanobacteria, however, prior to the current study there was no data on the prevalence of BMAA in cyanobacteria from Aotearoa New Zealand. It is important to note that toxicology studies definitively demonstrating the negative health effects of BMAA are lacking and no World Health Organization (WHO) guideline values have been developed for BMAA to-date. This work was a precautionary investigation to understand the potential public health risk should evidence of negative health effects from BMAA be established in the future. To better understand the potential public health risks posed by BMAA from freshwater cyanobacteria two studies were commissioned to: · Develop and implement analytical methods to measure free and total BMAA in cyanobacteria samples. · Use the developed methods to analyse a range of cyanobacteria from Aotearoa New Zealand. · Determine sensible next steps for establishing the potential public health risks posed by BMAA in Aotearoa New Zealand.