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{{PsyPerspective}}
 
{{PsyPerspective}}
   
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[[File:Hazard T.svg|right|thumb|The [[EU]]'s standard toxic symbol, as defined by [[Directive 67/548/EEC]]. The [[Skull and crossbones (poison)|skull and crossbones]] has long been a standard symbol for poison.]]
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A '''toxin''' (from {{lang-grc|τοξικόν|toxikon}}) is a [[poison]]ous substance produced within living cells or organisms;<ref>{{DorlandsDict|eight/000109718|toxin}}</ref><ref name="urltoxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary">{{cite web |url=http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/toxin |title=toxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary |work= |accessdate=13 December 2008}}</ref> man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist [[Ludwig Brieger]] (1849–1919).<ref>http://books.google.co.za/books?id=oWhqhK1cE-gC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=Ludwig+Brieger+[1849-1919]&source=bl&ots=7fa0fkkgkV&sig=ItABIJkoSsxyTdM9ts3iSSD3NQc&hl=en&ei=2lwmTKuaH4i6jAffyMGUAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Ludwig%20Brieger%20[1849-1919]&f=false</ref>
   
A '''toxin''' ([[Greek language|Gk.]] {{polytonic|τοξικόν}} ''toxikon'' "(poison) for use on arrows,") is a [[poison]]ous substance produced by living cells or organisms. Toxins are nearly always [[protein]]s that are capable of causing disease on contact or absorption with [[Biological tissue|body tissue]]s by interacting with biological [[macromolecule]]s such as [[enzyme]]s or [[Receptor (biochemistry)|cellular receptors]]. Toxins vary greatly in their severity, ranging from usually minor and acute (as in a [[bee]] [[Stinger|sting]]) to almost immediately deadly (as in [[botulinum toxin]]).
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For a toxic substance not produced within living organisms, "[[toxicant]]" and "toxics" are also sometimes used.{{Citation needed|date=February 2010}}.
   
Biotoxins vary greatly in purpose and mechanism, and can be highly complex (the venom of the [[cone snail]] contains dozens of small [[protein]]s, each targeting a specific nerve channel or receptor), or relatively small protein.
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Toxins can be [[small molecule]]s, [[peptide]]s, or [[protein]]s that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by [[Biological tissue|body tissue]]s interacting with biological [[macromolecule]]s such as [[enzyme]]s or [[Receptor (biochemistry)|cellular receptors]]. Toxins vary greatly in their severity, ranging from usually minor and acute (as in a [[bee]] [[Stinger|sting]]) to almost immediately deadly (as in [[botulinum toxin]]).
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==Terminology==
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Toxins are often distinguished from other chemical agents by their method of production - the word toxin does not specify method of delivery (compare with [[venom]] and the narrower meaning of [[poison]] – all substances that can also cause disturbances to organisms). It simply means it is a biologically produced poison.
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There was an ongoing terminological dispute between [[NATO]] and the [[Warsaw Pact]] over whether to call a toxin a [[Biological agent|biological]] or [[chemical agent]], in which the NATO opted for biological agent, and the Warsaw Pact, like most other countries in the world, for chemical agent.{{Citation needed|date=November 2010}}
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According to an [[International Committee of the Red Cross]] review of the [[Biological Weapons Convention]], "Toxins are poisonous products of organisms; unlike biological agents, they are inanimate and not capable of reproducing themselves." and "Since the signing of the Convention, there have been no disputes among the parties regarding the definition of biological agents or toxins..."<ref name="urlThe Biological Weapons Convention - An overview">{{cite web |url=http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JNPA |title=The Biological Weapons Convention - An overview |work= |accessdate=13 December 2008}}</ref>
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According to [[Title 18 of the United States Code]], "...the term "toxin" means the [[toxic]] material or product of [[plant]]s, [[animal]]s, [[microorganism]]s (including, but not limited to, [[bacteria]], [[virus]]es, [[fungi]], [[rickettsiae]] or [[protozoa]]), or infectious substances, or a [[Recombinant DNA|recombinant]] or synthesized molecule, whatever their origin and method of production..."<ref name="urlU.S. Code">{{cite web |url=http://law2.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?getdoc+uscview+t17t20+235+1++()%20%20AND%20((18)%20ADJ%20USC)%3ACITE%20AND%20(USC%20w/10%20(209))%3ACITE |title=U.S. Code |work= |accessdate=13 December 2008}}</ref>
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A rather informal terminology of individual toxins relate them to the anatomical location where their effects are most notable:
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* [[Hemotoxin]], causes destruction of [[red blood cells]] ([[hemolysis]])
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* [[Phototoxin]], causes dangerous photosensitivity
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On a broader scale, toxins may be classified as either [[exotoxin]]s, being excreted by an organism, and [[endotoxin]]s, that are released mainly when bacteria are lysed...
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Related terms are:
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* [[Toxoid]], weakened or suppressed toxin
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* [[Venom]], toxins in the sense of use by certain types of animals
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== Biotoxins ==
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The term "biotoxin" is sometimes used to explicitly confirm the biological origin.<ref name="urlbiotoxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary">{{cite web |url=http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biotoxin |title=biotoxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary |work= |accessdate=13 December 2008}}</ref><ref>{{DorlandsDict|one/000012874|biotoxin}}</ref>
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Toxins produced by [[microorganism]]s are important [[virulence]] determinants responsible for microbial [[pathogenicity]] and/or evasion of the host [[immune response]].<ref name= ProftT>{{cite book |author= Proft T (editor)| year=2009 |title=Microbial Toxins: Current Research and Future Trends | publisher=Caister Academic Press | isbn= 978-1-904455-44-8}}</ref>
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Biotoxins vary greatly in purpose and mechanism, and can be highly complex (the [[venom]] of the [[cone snail]] contains dozens of small [[protein]]s, each targeting a specific nerve channel or receptor), or relatively small protein.
   
==Use==
 
 
Biotoxins in nature have two primary functions:
 
Biotoxins in nature have two primary functions:
*Predation ([[spider]], [[snake]], [[scorpion]], [[jellyfish]], [[wasp]])
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*Defense ([[bee]], [[poison dart frog]], [[deadly nightshade]], [[Honey bee|honeybee]], [[wasp]])
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*[[Predation]] ([[spider]], [[snake]], [[scorpion]], [[jellyfish]], [[wasp]])
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*Defense ([[bee]], [[ant]], [[termite]], [[Honey bee|honeybee]], [[wasp]], [[poison dart frog]])
   
 
Some of the more well known types of biotoxins include:
 
Some of the more well known types of biotoxins include:
*'''[[Hemotoxin]]s''' target and destroy red blood cells, and are transmitted through the bloodstream. Organisms that possess hemotoxins include:
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*[[Cyanotoxin]]s, produced by [[cyanobacteria]]
**[[Pit_viper|Pit Vipers]], such as [[rattlesnake]]s.
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*[[Hemotoxin]]s target and destroy red blood cells, and are transmitted through the bloodstream. Organisms that produce hemotoxins include:
*'''[[Necrosis|Necrotoxins]]''' cause necrosis (i.e., death) in the cells they encounter and destroy all types of [[biological tissue|tissue]]. Necrotoxins spread through the bloodstream, but infect all tissues. In humans, [[skin]] and [[muscle]] tissues are most sensitive to necrotoxins. Organisms that possess necrotoxins include:
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**[[Pit viper]]s, such as [[rattlesnake]]s
**The [[Brown recluse spider|brown recluse]] or "fiddle back" spider.
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*[[Necrosis|Necrotoxins]] cause necrosis (i.e., death) in the cells they encounter and destroy all types of [[biological tissue|tissue]]{{Citation needed|date=August 2008}}. Necrotoxins spread through the bloodstream{{Citation needed|date=August 2008}}. In humans, [[skin]] and [[muscle]] tissues are most sensitive to necrotoxins{{Citation needed|date=August 2008}}. Organisms that possess necrotoxins include:
**[[Necrotizing fasciitis]] (the "flesh eating" [[bacteria]])
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**The [[Brown recluse spider|brown recluse]] or "fiddle back" spider
*'''[[Neurotoxin]]s''' primarily affect the nervous systems of animals. Organisms that possess neurotoxins include:
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**The "Puff Adder" - ''[[Bitis arietans]]''
**The [[Black widow spider|Black Widow]] and other [[widow spider]]s.
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**[[Necrotizing fasciitis]] (the "flesh eating" [[Streptococcus pyogenes|bacteria]])
**Most [[scorpion]]s.
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*[[Neurotoxin]]s primarily affect the nervous systems of animals. Organisms that possess neurotoxins include:
**The [[box jellyfish]].
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**The [[Black widow spider|Black Widow]] and other [[widow spider]]s
**[[Elapidae|Elapid]] snakes.
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**Most [[scorpion]]s
**The [[Cone snail|Cone Snail]].
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**The [[box jellyfish]]
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**[[Elapidae|Elapid]] snakes
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**The [[Cone snail|Cone Snail]]
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*[[Cytotoxic|Cytotoxins]] are toxic at the level of individual cells, either in a non-specific fashion or only in certain types of living cells:
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**[[Ricin]] is a plant toxin found in the castor bean plant
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*[[Apitoxin]], the [[honey bee]] venom
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*[[Mycotoxin]]s are toxins produced by fungi. They are a common source of toxins in grains and other foods.
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*Eosinophil derived neurotoxin is a toxin found in human encoded by the RNASE2 gene. it is found only in eosinophils
   
==Non-technical usage==
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==Environmental toxins==
When used non-technically, the term "toxin" is often applied to any [[toxic]] substances. Toxic substances not of biological origin are more properly termed [[poison]]s. Many non-technical and lifestyle journalists also follow this usage to refer to [[Toxicity (disambiguation)|toxic]] substances in general, though some specialist journalists at publishers such as [[BBC]] and [[The Guardian]] maintain the distinction that toxins are only those produced by living organisms.
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The term "environmental toxin" is often used.<ref name="pmid15783252">{{cite journal |author=Lanphear BP, Vorhees CV, Bellinger DC |title=Protecting Children from Environmental Toxins |journal=PLoS Med. |volume=2 |issue=3 |pages=e61 |year=2005 |month=March |pmid=15783252 |pmc=1069659 |doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020061 |url=http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020061}}</ref><ref name="pmid17942951">{{cite journal |author=Grollman AP, Jelaković B |title=Role of environmental toxins in endemic (Balkan) nephropathy. October 2006, Zagreb, Croatia |journal=J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. |volume=18 |issue=11 |pages=2817–23 |year=2007 |month=November |pmid=17942951 |doi=10.1681/ASN.2007050537 |url=http://jasn.asnjournals.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=17942951}}</ref><ref name="pmid18075622">{{cite journal |author=Cohen M |title=Environmental toxins and health--the health impact of pesticides |journal=Aust Fam Physician |volume=36 |issue=12 |pages=1002–4 |year=2007 |month=December |pmid=18075622 |doi= |url=http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/200712/21201}}</ref>
   
In the context of [[Alternative medicine|complementary medicine]] the term is often used as a broader category of any harmful substance claimed to cause ill health, though mainstream scientists often argue that the nature of such substances is unproven.
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In these contexts, it can sometimes explicitly include contaminants that are man-made,<ref name="pmid14977703">{{cite journal |author=Grigg J |title=Environmental toxins; their impact on children's health |journal=Arch. Dis. Child. |volume=89 |issue=3 |pages=244–50 |year=2004 |month=March |pmid=14977703 |pmc=1719840 |doi= 10.1136/adc.2002.022202|url=http://adc.bmj.com/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=14977703}}</ref> which contradicts most formal definitions of the term "toxin". Because of this, when encountering the word "toxin" outside of microbiological contexts, it is important to confirm what the researcher means by the use of the term. The toxins from [[food chain]]s which may be dangerous to human health include:
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* [[Paralytic shellfish poisoning]] (PSP) <ref name=iviv>{{Cite journal
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| journal = [[Analytical chemistry]]
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| issue = 5
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| pages = 1770–1776
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| publisher = [[American Chemical Society]]
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| year = 2008
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| url =
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| pmid = 18232710| doi = 10.1021/ac7022266
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| last3 = Vieytes
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| first3 = Mercedes R.
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| last4 = Romarís
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| last5 = Arévalo
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| first5 = Fabiola
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| last6 = Botana
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| first6 = Ana M.
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| last7 = Botana
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| first7 = Luis M.}}</ref><sup>,</sup> <ref name=dlpsp>{{Cite journal
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| last = Oikawa
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| first = Hiroshi ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Difference in the level of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin accumulation between the crabs Telmessus acutidens and Charybdis japonica collected in Onahama, Fukushima Prefecture
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| journal = [[Fisheries Science]]
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| volume = 73
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| issue = 2
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| pages = 395–403
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| publisher = [[Springer Science+Business Media|Springer]]
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| year = 2008
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| url =
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| doi = 10.1111/j.1444-2906.2007.01347.x
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| last2 = Fujita
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| first2 = Tsuneo
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| last3 = Saito
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| first3 = Ken
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| last4 = Satomi
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| first4 = Masataka
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| last5 = Yano
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| first5 = Yutaka}}</ref><sup>,</sup> <ref name=psptp>{{Cite journal
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| last = Abouabdellah
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| first = Rachid ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin profile of mussels Perna perna from southern Atlantic coasts of Morocco
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| journal = Toxin
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| volume = 51
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| issue = 5
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| pages = 780–786
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| publisher = [[Elsevier]]
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| year = 2008
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| url =
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| pmid = 18237757| doi = 10.1016/j.toxicon.2007.12.004
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| last2 = Taleb
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| first2 = Hamid
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| last3 = Bennouna
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| first3 = Asmae
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| last4 = Erler
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| first4 = Katrin
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| last5 = Chafik
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| first5 = Abdeghani
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| last6 = Moukrim
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| first6 = Abdelatif}}</ref>
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* [[Amnesic shellfish poisoning]] (ASP) <ref name=aspt>{{Cite journal
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| last = Wang
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| first = Lin ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Amnesic shellfish poisoning toxin stimulates the transcription of CYP1A possibly through AHR and ARNT in the liver of red sea bream Pagrus major
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| journal = [[Marine Pollution Bulletin]]
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| volume = 58
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| issue = 11
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| pages = 1643–1648
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| publisher = [[Elsevier]]
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| year = 2009
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| url =
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| pmid = 19665739| doi = 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.07.004
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| last2 = Liang
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| first2 = Xu-Fang
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| last3 = Zhang
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| first3 = Wen-Bing
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| last4 = Mai
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| first4 = Kang-Sen
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| last5 = Huang
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| first5 = Yan
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| last6 = Shen
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| first6 = Dan}}</ref><sup>,</sup> <ref name=ocfl>{{Cite journal
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| last = Wang
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| first = Lin ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Optimization of conditions for the liquid chromatographic-electrospray lonization-mass spectrometric analysis of amnesic shellfish poisoning toxins
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| journal = [[Chromatographia]]
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| volume = 53
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| issue = 1
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| pages = S231–S235
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| publisher = [[Vieweg Verlag]]
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| year = 2001
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| url =
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| doi = 10.1007/BF02490333
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| last2 = Vaquero
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| first2 = E.
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| last3 = Leão
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| first3 = J. M.
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| last4 = Gogo-Martínez
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| first4 = A.
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| last5 = Rodríguez Vázquez
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| first5 = J. A.}}</ref>
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* [[Diarrheal shellfish poisoning]] (DSP) <ref name=dmto>{{Cite journal
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| last = Mouratidou
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| first = Theoni ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Detection of the marine toxin okadaic acid in mussels during a diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) episode in Thermaikos Gulf, Greece, using biological, chemical and immunological methods
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| journal = [[Science of the Total Environment]]
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| volume = 366
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| issue = 2 – 3
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| pages = 894–904
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| publisher = [[Elsevier]]
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| year = 2006
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| url =
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| pmid = 16815531| doi = 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2005.03.002
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| last2 = Kaniougrigoriadou
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| first2 = I
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| last3 = Samara
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| first3 = C
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| last4 = Kouimtzis
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| first4 = T}}</ref><sup>,</sup> <ref name=ehed>{{Cite journal
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| last = Doucet
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| first = Erin ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Enzymatic hydrolysis of esterified diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxins and pectenotoxins
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| journal = [[Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry]]
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| volume = 389
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| issue = 1
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| pages = 335–342
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| publisher = Springer
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| year = 2007
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| url =
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| pmid = 17661021| doi = 10.1007/s00216-007-1489-3
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| last2 = Ross
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| first2 = Neil N.
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| last3 = Quilliam
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| first3 = Michael A.}}</ref>
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* [[Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning]] (NSP) <ref name=nspb>{{Cite journal
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| last = Poli
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| first = Mark A. ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| title = Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning and brevetoxin metabolites: a case study from Florida
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| journal = [[Toxicon]]
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| volume = 38
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| issue = 7
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| pages = 981–993
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| publisher = [[Elsevier]]
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| year = 2000
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| url =
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| doi = 10.1016/S0041-0101(99)00191-9
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| pmid=10728835
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| last4 = Eilers
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| first4 = Paul P
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| last5 = Hall
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| first5 = Sherwood}}</ref><sup>,</sup> <ref name=bnba>{{Cite journal
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| last = Morohashi
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| first = Akio ''et al.''
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| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Brevetoxin B3, a new brevetoxin analog isolated from the greenshell mussel perna canaliculus involved in neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in new zealand
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| journal = [[Tetrahedron Letters]]
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| volume = 36
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| issue = 49
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| pages = 8995–8998
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| publisher = [[Elsevier]]
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| year = 1995
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| url =
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| doi = 10.1016/0040-4039(95)01969-O
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| first3 = K
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| last4 = Naoki
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| first5 = H
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| last6 = Yasumoto
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| first6 = T}}</ref><sup>,</sup> <ref name=bigm>{{Cite journal
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| last = Morohashi
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| first = Akio ''et al.''
  +
| authorlink =
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| coauthors =
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| title = Brevetoxin B4 isolated from greenshell mussels Perna canaliculus, the major toxin involved in neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in New Zealand
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| journal = [[Tetrahedron Letters]]
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| volume = 7
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| issue = 2
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| pages = 45–48
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| publisher = [[Natural Toxins]]
  +
| year = 1999
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| url = http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/65500591/abstract
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| doi = 10.1002/(SICI)1522-7189(199903/04)7:2<45::AID-NT34>3.0.CO;2-H
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| pmid = 10495465
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| accessdate =15 February 2010
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| last2 = Satake
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| first2 = Masayuki
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| last3 = Naoki
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| first3 = Hideo
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| last4 = Kaspar
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| last5 = Oshima
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| first5 = Yasukatsu
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| last6 = Yasumoto
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| first6 = Takeshi}}</ref>
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  +
=== Finding information about toxins===
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The Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP)<ref>[http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro.html SIS.nlm.nih.gov]</ref> at the [[United States National Library of Medicine]] (NLM) maintains a comprehensive toxicology and environmental health web site that includes access to toxins-related resources produced by TEHIP and by other government agencies and organizations. This web site includes links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other scientific and consumer-oriented resources. TEHIP also is responsible for the Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET),<ref>[http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/ Toxnet.nlm.nih.gov]</ref> an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web.
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[[TOXMAP]] is a Geographic Information System (GIS) that is part of TOXNET. TOXMAP uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the [[United States Environmental Protection Agency]]'s (EPA) [[Toxics Release Inventory]] and [[Superfund Basic Research Program]]s.
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==Misuse==
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When used non-technically, the term "toxin" is often applied to any [[toxic]] substance. Toxic substances not directly of biological origin are also termed [[poison]]s and many non-technical and lifestyle journalists follow this usage to refer to [[Toxicity (disambiguation)|toxic]] substances in general.
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In the context of [[alternative medicine]] the term is often used to refer to any substance claimed to cause ill health, ranging anywhere from trace amounts of [[pesticide]]s to common food items like refined [[sugar]] or [[Food additive|additives]] such as [[monosodium glutamate]] (MSG).<ref>[http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/project/14/ Prince of Wales criticised for dodgy detox product], Sense About Science, March 2009</ref>
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
*[[Apitoxin]]
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* [[ArachnoServer]]
*[[Excitotoxicity]]
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* [[Brevetoxin]]
*[[Hemotoxin]]
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* [[Insect toxins]]
*[[Mycotoxin]]
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* [[Toxin-antitoxin system]]
*[[Neurotoxin]]
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* [[List of fictional toxins]]
*[[Phototoxin]]
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* [[List of highly toxic gases]]
*[[Toxoid]]
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* [[Mycotoxin]]
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* [[Microbial toxins]]
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* [[Toxicophore]], feature or group within a chemical structure that is thought to be responsible for the toxic property
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==References==
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{{Reflist|2}}
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
*[http://www.toxicology.org Society of Toxicology]
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* [http://www.t3db.org/ T3DB: Toxin-target database]
*[http://www.jvat.org.br The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases]
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* [http://protchem.hunnu.edu.cn/toxin ATDB: Animal toxin database]
*[http://plantnet.rbgsyd.gov.au/PlantNet/cycad/toxic.html Cycad toxicity]
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* [http://www.toxicology.org Society of Toxicology]
*[http://www.guardian.co.uk/corrections/story/0,,1495281,00.html Corrections and clarifications], ''[[The Guardian]]'', [[30 May]], [[2005]].
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* [http://www.jvat.org.br The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases]
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* [http://toxseek.nlm.nih.gov/ ToxSeek: Meta-search engine in toxicology and environmental health]
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* [http://www.ecotoxmodels.org/ Website on Models & Ecotoxicology]
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{{Toxins}}
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{{Toxicology}}
   
 
[[Category:Toxins| ]]
 
[[Category:Toxins| ]]
[[Category:Toxicology]]
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[[Category:Biology terminology]]
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[[Category:Toxicology| Toxin]]
   
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File:Hazard T.svg
The EU's standard toxic symbol, as defined by Directive 67/548/EEC. The skull and crossbones has long been a standard symbol for poison.

A toxin (from Ancient Greek: τοξικόν ) is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms;[1][2] man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919).[3]

For a toxic substance not produced within living organisms, "toxicant" and "toxics" are also sometimes used.[citation needed].

Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by body tissues interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes or cellular receptors. Toxins vary greatly in their severity, ranging from usually minor and acute (as in a bee sting) to almost immediately deadly (as in botulinum toxin).

Terminology

Toxins are often distinguished from other chemical agents by their method of production - the word toxin does not specify method of delivery (compare with venom and the narrower meaning of poison – all substances that can also cause disturbances to organisms). It simply means it is a biologically produced poison. There was an ongoing terminological dispute between NATO and the Warsaw Pact over whether to call a toxin a biological or chemical agent, in which the NATO opted for biological agent, and the Warsaw Pact, like most other countries in the world, for chemical agent.[citation needed]

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross review of the Biological Weapons Convention, "Toxins are poisonous products of organisms; unlike biological agents, they are inanimate and not capable of reproducing themselves." and "Since the signing of the Convention, there have been no disputes among the parties regarding the definition of biological agents or toxins..."[4]

According to Title 18 of the United States Code, "...the term "toxin" means the toxic material or product of plants, animals, microorganisms (including, but not limited to, bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsiae or protozoa), or infectious substances, or a recombinant or synthesized molecule, whatever their origin and method of production..."[5]

A rather informal terminology of individual toxins relate them to the anatomical location where their effects are most notable:

On a broader scale, toxins may be classified as either exotoxins, being excreted by an organism, and endotoxins, that are released mainly when bacteria are lysed...

Related terms are:

  • Toxoid, weakened or suppressed toxin
  • Venom, toxins in the sense of use by certain types of animals

Biotoxins

The term "biotoxin" is sometimes used to explicitly confirm the biological origin.[6][7]

Toxins produced by microorganisms are important virulence determinants responsible for microbial pathogenicity and/or evasion of the host immune response.[8]

Biotoxins vary greatly in purpose and mechanism, and can be highly complex (the venom of the cone snail contains dozens of small proteins, each targeting a specific nerve channel or receptor), or relatively small protein.

Biotoxins in nature have two primary functions:

Some of the more well known types of biotoxins include:

Environmental toxins

The term "environmental toxin" is often used.[9][10][11]

In these contexts, it can sometimes explicitly include contaminants that are man-made,[12] which contradicts most formal definitions of the term "toxin". Because of this, when encountering the word "toxin" outside of microbiological contexts, it is important to confirm what the researcher means by the use of the term. The toxins from food chains which may be dangerous to human health include:

Finding information about toxins

The Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP)[23] at the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) maintains a comprehensive toxicology and environmental health web site that includes access to toxins-related resources produced by TEHIP and by other government agencies and organizations. This web site includes links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other scientific and consumer-oriented resources. TEHIP also is responsible for the Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET),[24] an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web.

TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) that is part of TOXNET. TOXMAP uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory and Superfund Basic Research Programs.

Misuse

When used non-technically, the term "toxin" is often applied to any toxic substance. Toxic substances not directly of biological origin are also termed poisons and many non-technical and lifestyle journalists follow this usage to refer to toxic substances in general.

In the context of alternative medicine the term is often used to refer to any substance claimed to cause ill health, ranging anywhere from trace amounts of pesticides to common food items like refined sugar or additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG).[25]

See also

References

  1. Template:DorlandsDict
  2. toxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. URL accessed on 13 December 2008.
  3. http://books.google.co.za/books?id=oWhqhK1cE-gC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=Ludwig+Brieger+[1849-1919]&source=bl&ots=7fa0fkkgkV&sig=ItABIJkoSsxyTdM9ts3iSSD3NQc&hl=en&ei=2lwmTKuaH4i6jAffyMGUAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Ludwig%20Brieger%20[1849-1919]&f=false
  4. The Biological Weapons Convention - An overview. URL accessed on 13 December 2008.
  5. U.S. Code. URL accessed on 13 December 2008.
  6. biotoxin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. URL accessed on 13 December 2008.
  7. Template:DorlandsDict
  8. Proft T (editor) (2009). Microbial Toxins: Current Research and Future Trends, Caister Academic Press.
  9. Lanphear BP, Vorhees CV, Bellinger DC (March 2005). Protecting Children from Environmental Toxins. PLoS Med. 2 (3): e61.
  10. Grollman AP, Jelaković B (November 2007). Role of environmental toxins in endemic (Balkan) nephropathy. October 2006, Zagreb, Croatia. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 18 (11): 2817–23.
  11. Cohen M (December 2007). Environmental toxins and health--the health impact of pesticides. Aust Fam Physician 36 (12): 1002–4.
  12. Grigg J (March 2004). Environmental toxins; their impact on children's health. Arch. Dis. Child. 89 (3): 244–50.
  13. Vale, Carmen et al. (2008). In Vitro and in Vivo Evaluation of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Toxin Potency and the Influence of the pH of Extraction. Analytical chemistry 80 (5): 1770–1776.
  14. Oikawa, Hiroshi et al. (2008). Difference in the level of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin accumulation between the crabs Telmessus acutidens and Charybdis japonica collected in Onahama, Fukushima Prefecture. Fisheries Science 73 (2): 395–403.
  15. Abouabdellah, Rachid et al. (2008). Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin profile of mussels Perna perna from southern Atlantic coasts of Morocco. Toxin 51 (5): 780–786.
  16. Wang, Lin et al. (2009). Amnesic shellfish poisoning toxin stimulates the transcription of CYP1A possibly through AHR and ARNT in the liver of red sea bream Pagrus major. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58 (11): 1643–1648.
  17. Wang, Lin et al. (2001). Optimization of conditions for the liquid chromatographic-electrospray lonization-mass spectrometric analysis of amnesic shellfish poisoning toxins. Chromatographia 53 (1): S231–S235.
  18. Mouratidou, Theoni et al. (2006). Detection of the marine toxin okadaic acid in mussels during a diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) episode in Thermaikos Gulf, Greece, using biological, chemical and immunological methods. Science of the Total Environment 366 (2 – 3): 894–904.
  19. Doucet, Erin et al. (2007). Enzymatic hydrolysis of esterified diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxins and pectenotoxins. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 389 (1): 335–342.
  20. Poli, Mark A. et al. (2000). Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning and brevetoxin metabolites: a case study from Florida. Toxicon 38 (7): 981–993.
  21. Morohashi, Akio et al. (1995). Brevetoxin B3, a new brevetoxin analog isolated from the greenshell mussel perna canaliculus involved in neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in new zealand. Tetrahedron Letters 36 (49): 8995–8998.
  22. Morohashi, Akio et al. (1999). Brevetoxin B4 isolated from greenshell mussels Perna canaliculus, the major toxin involved in neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in New Zealand. Tetrahedron Letters 7 (2): 45–48.
  23. SIS.nlm.nih.gov
  24. Toxnet.nlm.nih.gov
  25. Prince of Wales criticised for dodgy detox product, Sense About Science, March 2009

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