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Beagle Bioproducts Blog


Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Thu, Aug 13, 2015

Sylvan120822_eastside1It happened again.  We had a batch of blue-green algae collected in a private lake in Illinois, and were figuring out which congeners were in it.  It was loaded with Microcystin-RR, and only traces of Microcystin-LR.  GRRrrrrr…..

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Le Pew

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Tue, July 21, 2015

Adorable Striped Skunk at Woodlands Nature Watch Area. Photo by Carrie SwzedNobody’s ever been killed by a skunk.  Most of us have experienced the unpleasant smell of one, usually on the highway.  Of course, some overly curious dogs have experienced skunks firsthand, much to the dismay of their humans.  But has that smell every actually killed anyone?  I’ve hear rumors of a stress-induced heart attack in a human whose dog got skunked, but other than that, nobody’s ever been killed by the stink of a skunk.

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Water Canaries

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Thu, July 2, 2015

A good pal who runs a water treatment plant in Ohio told an audience at a conference that he has canaries in his community.  The reference is based on the proverbial “canary in a coal mine,” and his metaphor described certain water customers that were extremely sensitive to taste and odor changes.  Phone calls from those customers, complaining of “muddy” or “earthy” water, could be an early indicator that he might have algae starting to grow in his reservoir…

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The HAB Five: Microcystin

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Tue, June 23, 2015

Rotating-Microcystin-LRWell, we’ve come to the 5th and final installment of the HAB FiveHave I saved the best for last?  At first I didn’t think so.  I mean, what more can we say about the toxin that everyone seems to have said something about in the past year?  Yet when I searched for some quirky and interesting tidbits about microcystin, the internet (and some friends in the biz) did not disappoint.  So bidding farewell to the HAB Five series, here are your five fun facts about microcystin…

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The HAB Five: Saxitoxin

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Mon, May 11, 2015

Clams_muscles_shellfish_foodIn this fourth installment of the HAB Five, we’ll look at a little toxin with a big reputation.   Saxitoxin is one of the most potent natural neurotoxins ever described, and is best known as one of the “paralytic shellfish poisonings,” or PSPs.  If shellfish graze on algae that make saxitoxin, the shellfish can concentrate the toxin to dangerously high levels.  If you’re the unlucky consumer of saxitoxin-contaminated shellfish (raw oysters, anyone?), the outcome can range from perspiration to cardiac failure.   Due to its association with global foodborne illnesses, saxitoxins is thus one of the best-studied algae toxins.  Below are five fun facts about sax…

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The HAB Five: Cylindrospermopsin

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Thu, April 9, 2015

20120802_Zoo_Zonnegloed_(52)I had predicted in my last HAB Five blog that by this time I would be reveling in my winnings from the Beagle March Madness bracket.  But alas, it was not to be.  Rather, and not disappointingly, I’ve been reveling in a recent surge of orders for the toxin cylindrospermopsin.  This is a great sign that research on this toxin might be picking up.  Like the more widely recognized microcystin, cylindrospermopsin is a liver toxin, but it is an alkaloid rather than a peptide toxin, and it kills liver cells by a different mechanism than microcystin does.   Is it more or less toxic than microcystin, you ask?  Well, there hasn’t been a good study to provide a clear answer to that, but as the fun facts below demonstrate, such studies are sorely needed…

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The HAB Five: Nodularin

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Thu, March 12, 2015

nodulIn eager anticipation of March Madness, I figured now would be a good time for the next installment of the HAB Five.  Nodularin is a close cousin of microcystin, and is also toxic to the liver.  Nodularin is a cyclic pentapeptide, while microcystin is a cyclic heptapeptide.  There are 7 naturally-occurring forms of nodularin, and two of them are actually not even toxic.  While the limited studies available suggest that nodularin is as potent or more potent than microcystins, it has received not nearly as much study over the years.  Enough has gone on to yield the following 5 interesting facts…

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The HAB Five: Anatoxin-a

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Wed, Jan 28, 2015

fab five anatoxin-a jersey picWell, sports fans, here we are with our first featured toxin of the HAB Five:  Anatoxin-a.  Frankly, I don’t know why anatoxin-a doesn’t get more time in the ballgame of toxin coverage, because biologically it’s really fascinating, and it has a big impact on economically important livestock throughout the country.  Anatoxin-a is a really potent neurotoxin, and in spite of the big problems it can cause, biochemically it’s a tiny molecule, and it is quite widespread in freshwater lakes throughout the U.S.  Unlike the liver toxin microcystin, anatoxin-a doesn’t get as much study or as much press, so it’s unclear how widespread it really is.  Here we give it some time off the bench, with our five fun facts about anatoxin-a…

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The HAB Five

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

fab5docToday, I learned something from my Wolverine-loving business partner:  Michigan’s Fab Five of early-1990s fame changed the game of basketball as we know it.  Used to hearing wild claims from alumni of the School up North, I decided to verify this claim.  Indeed, if one considers baggy shortsand the now taken-for-granted ties of the NBA with hip hop culture, the Fab Five changed the game.   OK, I guess there were a few superstars, too.   Additionally, and Eric didn’t deny this, some shady deals and NCAA violations that involved members of the Fab Five had a toxic and long-lasting effect on Michigan’s basketball program.

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Blue & Green in the Land of Scarlett & Gray

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 @ 5:00 PM

OHBeagle Bioproducts extends hearty congratulations to The Ohio State University Buckeyes!  There’s a lot to love about this story, but my favorite aspect regards Cardale Jones, who came off the bench to lead OSU through the playoff season to a national championship.  Coach Urban Meyer (and his staff) clearly recognized months or years in advance that it wasn’t good enough to have a star quarterback in Braxton Miller, but you needed a great backup like J.T. Barrett.  Amazingly, they were able to maintain superior talent even deeper in their roster, in the form of Jones.

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What’s In A Name?

Posted by Ryan Farmeron Wed, Jan 7, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

cyanobacteria_microscopeIn Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet laments “wherefore art thou Romeo” to later question him to “refute thy name”.  This is the classic issue of whether our names define who we are or just identify what we have already become.  Though cyanobacteria do not receive any stage cues in this tragedy, they were around in Shakespeare’s time.  In fact they have been around for eons.  Long before humans came along and gave them names.

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Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me

Posted by David Brumbaugh on Tue, Aug 5, 2014 @ 2:00 PM

Toledo Water IntakeThe harrowing events of the weekend appear to be over for Toledo, as the mayor announced that water was again safe for consumption.  A “Do Not Use” warning was issued following the detection of microcystin in the finished product of a water treatment plant (WTP).  The toxin, almost certainly produced by the harmful algal bloom (HAB) that develops at the mouth of the Maumee River almost every year, can cause serious health effects and cannot be killed even by boiling affected water.  For three days, the city’s residents were required to stock up on bottled water and seek relief from outside suppliers.

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Tangled Up In… Green?

Posted by David Brumbaugh on Wed, July 30, 2014 @ 2:00 PM

Why “Beagle”?

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Fri, July 25, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

The Lake Show

Posted by Eric Roy on Fri, July 18, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

We’ve come a long way, baby, but…

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. and Bradley Bensonon Tue, July 15, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

Isomers: Not So E-Z-Peasy

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. and Sarah Dreheron Tue, July 8, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

LA LA Land

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Wed, June 18, 2014 @ 11:00 PM

Early Bloomers

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Fri, June 6, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

A Study in Blue-Green Algae

Posted by Sarah Dreheron Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

From Ninja Turtles to harmful algal blooms … I’m still searching for that toxic ooze.

Posted by Cody Schuetton Mon, April 28, 2014 @ 12:00 PM

Are we there yet?

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Mon, March 3, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

…And Be Good At It!

Posted by David Brumbaugh on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 @ 1:00 PM

Mind the Gap

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Simple Samples: Part III

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D.on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

Simple Samples: Part II

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Mon, Dec 2, 2013 @ 2:00 PM

Simple Samples:  Part I

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Outbound Hounds

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

HABs in the Land of Ahhhhhs

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D., on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

LIAs have Leverage to Fund the Fight Against HABs

Posted by Jim Cook on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Save the Cows

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 07:03 AM

To Swim or Not To Swim…

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. on Tue, Aug 06, 2013 @ 02:27 PM

Greater than 95%

Posted by Ryan Farmer on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 @ 03:51 PM

Microcystin-LR:  How Toxic Is It? (Part II)

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

Microcystin-LR:  How Toxic Is It? (Part I)

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

Your Drinking Water TPO is TOPs

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. on Sun, Jun 30, 2013 @ 10:46 AM


Posted by Eric Roy on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 04:05 PM

At Beagle Bioproducts, their algae ain’t our algae

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 @ 04:16 PM

What is a Microcystin Reference Standard?

Posted by Stephanie A. Smith, Ph.D. on Fri, May 24, 2013 @ 11:13 AM


Posted by Eric Roy on Thu, May 09, 2013 @ 02:13 PM









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