The work carried out so far by the medicinal, organic, analytical and environmental chemistry team, in collaboration with GreenColab, has brought “very encouraging results” and achieved “already quite pronounced levels of reduction” of diarrheal and paralyzing biotoxins, said the coordinator of the “Depuratox” study, Maria de Lurdes Cristiano.

The researcher explained that the objective was to find solutions to reduce the contamination of bivalves such as mussels, cockles or clams, caused by outbreaks of algae proliferation that produce biotoxins, which “greatly affect aquaculture and mariculture” and have negative impacts.

“Our approach is a chemist's approach, which consisted of trying, through and from the structure of biotoxins, namely diarrheal and paralyzing ones, which are the two groups we worked on in this project, to arrive at products that could sequester them in the body”, said Maria de Lurdes Cristiano.

The researcher explained that diarrheal biotoxins "are the most common" in the Algarve, that are "uncomfortable", causing "intestinal problems" and "in very high concentrations, they can lead to dehydration in people who have eaten contaminated shellfish", the paralyzing ones "are much more dangerous” and “can even lead to death”.

“There is not as much incidence of paralyzing biotoxins in our country, they are not as common as diarrheal ones, but, from time to time, there are outbreaks, and worldwide what is happening is that outbreaks of paralyzing toxins have been increasing” , stressed the person in charge.

Therefore, the “Depuratox” research project focused on these two classes of biotoxins with the aim of finding products that can be integrated in the purification phase and sequester these molecules during the process.