Human Exposure to Cyanotoxins: Exploring in Vitro Detoxification Using Atmospheric Cold Plasma Treatment To Protect Human Health
Recently, there have been increases in freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) globally. HABs are known to contaminate some of the Great Lakes such as Lake Erie, which supplies over 80% of surface water in North America. HABs can produce cyanotoxins, many of which are hepatotoxic such as the microcystins (MCs) and Nodularin (NOD). The health effects of these include; promotion of various cancers, neurotoxicity, genotoxicity and potential carcinogenicity. Human exposure occurs through numerous pathways, with the major route being through ingestion of contaminated water and recreational use of water bodies. Current methods utilised by water treatment facilities to remove cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins from drinking water can be successful if tailored to individual toxins. However, with certain cyanobacterial species capable of producing more than one class of cyanotoxin, as well as possibly producing numerous congeners, their removal could become more problematic, posing a risk to consumers. Therefore, there is a need to try and effectively detoxify drinking water contaminated with cyanotoxins to safeguard human health by use of new and novel techniques, such as atmospheric cold plasma treatment (ACPT). To investigate this, six MCs, NOD, cylindrospermopsin (CYN), anatoxin-A (ATX-A) and the marine toxin domoic acid (DA) were subjected to ACPT, using helium gas and a helium molecular oxygen gas admixture.