EcoHealth

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 390–403

The Influence of Indigenous Food Procurement Techniques on Populations of Cyanobacteria in pre-European Australia: A Potential Small-scale Water Amelioration Tool

Review

Abstract

During times of pre-European Australia, indigenous people utilized methods of food procurement that resulted in toxic phytochemicals from plants entering their waterholes. This paper focuses on three of these plants, namely the leaves of Acacia colei and Duboisia hopwoodii, which were used by hunters to poison water holes to stun fish or a drinking animal, and the seeds of Castanospermum australe, which were eaten following the leaching of toxins into a running stream. If consumed by humans, the main toxins from these plants—saponins/sesquiterpenes, nicotine/nornicotine, and australine/castanospermine—are fatal. However, it is undetermined whether populations of Cyanobacteria also can be affected. During this study, the previously mentioned plants were administered to populations of the species Anabaena circinalis, Microcystis aeruginosa, and Nodularia spumigena, while mimicking the traditional applications of these plants as closely as possible. Results varied with treatments and species; however, cell chlorosis manifested in nearly all treatments, concomitantly with thylakoid membrane disorganization. Cell dormancy typically manifested, along with destruction of populations at higher treatments. The results indicated that populations of Cyanobacteria could have been destroyed or inhibited by indigenous people during traditional applications of these plants. Findings presented herein indicate a more sophisticated and complex traditional Australian resource management scheme than is currently understood, contributing to the growing awareness of the plight of earlier indigenous Australians. The reintroduction of traditional water management techniques may have potential as a suitable small-scale water resource management strategy.

Keywords

Duboisia Acacia colei Castanospermum australe Cyanobacteria Australian Aboriginal nicotine 

References

  1. Aloni B, Peet M, Pharr M, Karni L (2001) The effect of high temperature and high atmospheric CO2 on carbohydrate changes in bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) pollen in relation to its germination. Physiologia Plantarum 112:505-512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anonymous (1880) Poisonous scum in Lake Alexandria. The South Australian Register 14 February 1880, AdelaideGoogle Scholar
  3. Araoz R, Nghiem H-O, Rippka R, Palibroda N, Tandeau de Marsac N, Herdman M (2005) Neurotoxins in axenic oscillatorian cyanobacteria: coexistence of anatoxin-a and homoanatoxin-a determined by ligand-binding assay and GC/MS. Microbiology 151:1263-1273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ASLO (1985) (American Society of Limnology and Oceanographic, Inc) Eutrophication and the rate of denitrification and N2O production in coastal marine sediments. Limnology and Oceanography 30(6):1332-1339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Australis Botanicals S (unknown) Alkaloids of Nicotiana Species and Duboisia hopwoodii Auxins Chem Pages http://www.shaman-australis.com/~auxin/index.html. Accessed 23 October 2007
  6. Baird C, Cann M (2005) Environmental Chemistry, 3rd ed., New York: W.H. Freeman and CompanyGoogle Scholar
  7. Baker JP, Entsch B, Neilan BA, McKay DB (2002) Monitoring changing toxigenicity of a cyanobacterial bloom by molecular methods. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 68(12):6070-6076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bar M, Hardenberg JV, Meron E, Provenzale A (2002) Modelling the survival of bacteria in drylands: the advantage of being dormant. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 269:937-942CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bar MJ, Robinson HD (1999) Constructed wetlands for landfill leachate treatment. Waste Manage Res 17:498-504Google Scholar
  10. Barnard C (1952) The duboisias of Australia. Economic Botany 6(1):3-17Google Scholar
  11. Beltran EC, Neilan BA (2000) Geographical segregation of the neurotoxin-producing cyanobacterium Anabaena circinalis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66(10):4468-4474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bolch CJS, Blackburn SI (1996) Isolation and purification of Australian isolates of the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa Kutz. Journal of Applied Phycology 8:5-13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bottomley W, White DE (1951) The chemistry of Western Australian plants IV Duboisia hopwoodii. Australian Journal of Scientific Research 4(1):107-111Google Scholar
  14. Bowling LC, Baker PD (1996) Major cyanobacterial bloom in the Barwon-Darling River, Australia, in 1991, and underlying limnological conditions. Marine and Freshwater Research 47:643-657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bowman DMJS (1998) The impact of Aboriginal landscape burning on the Australian biota. New Phytologist 140:385-410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Karaèonji IB (2005) Facts about nicotine toxicity. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 56:363-371Google Scholar
  17. Burford MA, O’Donohue MJ (2006) A comparison of phytoplankton community assemblages in artificially and naturally mixed subtropical water reservoirs. Freshwater Biology 51(5):973-982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cherikoff V (1993) The Bushfood Handbook: How to Gather, Grow, Process and Cook Australian Wild Foods: Ti Tree PressGoogle Scholar
  19. Codd GA, Steffensen DA, Burch MD, Baker PD (1994) Toxic blooms of cyanobacteria in Lake Alexandrina, South Australia–learning from history. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Resources 45:731-736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cribb AB, Cribb JW (1981) Wild Medicine In: Australia, Sydney: William CollinsGoogle Scholar
  21. Dagnino D, Meireles DdA, Almeida JCdA (2006) Growth of nutrient-replete Microcystis PCC 7806 cultures is inhibited by an extracellular signal produced by chlorotic cultures. Environmental Microbiology 8(1):30-36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davis RJ, Koop K (2006) Eutrophication in Australian rivers, reservoirs and estuaries—a southern hemisphere perspective on the science and its implications. Hydrobiologia 559:23-76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dodson S (2005) Introduction to Limnology. Margaret J. KempGoogle Scholar
  24. Donnelly TH, Grace MR, Hart BT (1997) Algal blooms in the Darling-Barwon River, Australia. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 99:487-496Google Scholar
  25. Foley P (2006) Duboisia myoporoides: The Medical Career of a Native Australian Plant. Historical Records of Australian Science 17(1):31-69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gately I (2001) Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization, New York: GroveGoogle Scholar
  27. Gouagna LC, Ferguson HM, Okech BA, Killeen GF, Kabiru EW, Beier JC et al (2004) Plasmodium falciparum malaria disease manifestations in humans and transmission to Anopheles gambiae: a field study in Western Kenya. Parasitology 128(3):235-243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Greiner S, Krausgrill S, Rausch T (1998) Cloning of a tobacco apoplasmic invertase inhibitor. Plant Physiology 116:733-742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Han B, Berjak P, Pammenter N, Farrant J, Kermode AR (1997) The recalcitrant plant species, Castanospermum australe and Trichilia dregeana, differ in their ability to produce dehydrin-related polypeptides during seed maturation and in response to ABA or water-deficit-related stresses. Journal of Experimental Botany 48(314):1717-1726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hargreaves J, Brunson M (1996) Carbon Dioxide in Fish Ponds. Southern Regional Aquaculture Centre Publication No. 468. United States Department of Agriculture (Online). http://govdocs.aquake.org/cgi/reprint/2003/725/7250130.pdf. Accessed September 2007
  31. Hayman J (1992) Beyond the Barcoo—probable human tropical cyanobacterial poisoning in outback Australia. Medical Journal of Australia 157:794-796Google Scholar
  32. Hayman J (1994) The far Barcoo where they eat nardoo. Nature 370:408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hiddins L (1999) Explore Wild Australia with the Bush Tucker Man. Penguin Books, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  34. Holliday I (2005) A Field Guide to Australian Trees, 3 rd ed. Reed New Holland Publishers, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  35. Hothorn M, Bonneau F, Stier G, Greiner S, Scheffzek K (2003) Bacterial expression, purification and preliminary x-ray crystallographic characterization of the invertase inhibitor Nt-CIF from tobacco. Biological Crystallography (Acta Crystallographica) D59:2279-2282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Howard J, McGregor D (2000) Reducing nutrient enrichment of waterways through public education: a tale of two cities. Environmental Conservation 27:351-358Google Scholar
  37. Isaacs J (2000) Bushfood: Aboriginal Food and Herbal Medicine. Lansdown Press, l:kGoogle Scholar
  38. Kemp A, John J (2005) Microcystins associated with microcystis dominated blooms in the southwest wetlands, Western Australia. Environmental Toxicology 21(2):125-130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kononen K, Kuparinen J, Mäkelä K, Laanemets J, Pvelson J, Nõmmann S (1996) Initiation of cyanobacterial blooms in a frontal region at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea. Limnological Oceanography 4(1):98-112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Krientz L, Ballot A, Kotut K, Wiegand C, Putz S, Metcalf JS et al (2003) Contribution of hot spring cyanobacteria to the mysterious deaths of Lesser Flamingos at Lake Bogoria, Kenya. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 43:141-148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kunio K (1998) Ecological studies on the geographic distribution of the genus Nicotiana. Bulletin of the Leaf Tobacco Research Laboratory 7:1-175Google Scholar
  42. Lassak V, McCarthy T (1983) Australian Medicinal Plants. North Ryde: Methuen AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  43. Latour D, Sabido O, Salencon M-J, Guraudet H (2004) Dynamics of metabolic activity of the benthic cyanoacterium Microcystis aeruginosa in the Grangent reservoir (France). Journal of Plankton Research 26(7):719-726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Latz P (2004) Bushfires and Bushtucker: Aboriginal plant use in central Australia. IAD PressGoogle Scholar
  45. Launratana O, Griffin WJ (1982) Alkaloids of Duboisia hopwoodii. Phytochemistry 21(2):449-551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lehninger AL, Nelson DL (2004) Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 4 th ed, New York: W.H. FreemanGoogle Scholar
  47. Low T (1989) Bush Tucker: Australia’s Wild Food Harvest. Angus and Robertson PublishersGoogle Scholar
  48. McKenzie RA, Reichmann KG, Dimmock CK, Dunster PJ, Twist JO (1988) The toxicity of Castanospermum australe seeds for cattle. Australian Veterinary Journal 65(6):165-167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Molloy L, Wonnacott S, Gallagher T, Brough PA, Livett BC (1995) Anatoxin-a is a potent agonist of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor of bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. European Journal of Pharmacology 289(3):447-453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Molyneus RJ, Benson M, Wong RY (1988) Australine, a novel pyrrolizidine alkaloid glucosidase inhibitor from Castanospermum australe. Journal of Natural Products 51(6):1198-1206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Paerl HW, Valdes LM, Peierls BL (2006) Anthropogenic and climatic influences on the eutrophication of large estuarine ecosystems. Limnological Oceanography 51(1, part 2):448-462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Projo HP, Quiroga EN, Vattuone MA, Sampietro AR (1998) Nicotiana glauca invertase: characterization and effects of endogenous alkaloids. Phytochemistry 49(4):965-969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Riethman H, Bullerjahn G, Reddy KJ, Sherman LA (1988) Regulation of cyanobacterial pigment-protein composition and organization by environmental factors. Photosynthesis Research 18:133-161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Robinson M (1980) The history of the Duboisia industry. In: Occasional Papers in Anthropology, Vol. 10, Lauer PK (editor), St Lucia: Anthropology Museum, University of Queensland, pp 43-49Google Scholar
  55. Robson BJ, Hamilton DP (2004) Three-dimensional modelling of a Microcystis bloom event in the Swan River estuary, Western Australia. Ecological Modelling 174(1-2):203-222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Roja G, Heble MR (2006) Castanospermine, an HIV inhibitor from tissue cultures of Castanospermum australe. Phytotherapy Research 9(7):540-542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Smith HH, Abashian DV (1963) Chromatographic investigations on the alkaloid content of Nicotiana species and interspecific combinations. Journal of Botany 50(5):435-447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Specht RL, Specht A (1999) Australian Plant Communities: Dynamics of Structure Growth and Biodiversity. Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  59. Steinberg CEW, Hartmann HM (1988) Planktonic bloom-forming cyanobacteria and the eutrophication of lakes and rivers. Freshwater Biology 20(2):279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sturm A, Chrispeels MJ (1990) cDNA cloning of carrot extracellular β-fructosidase and its expression in response to wounding and bacterial infection. The Plant Cell 2:1107-1119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Van Buynder PG, Oughtred T, Kirkby B, Phillips S, Eaglesham G, Thomas K et al (2001) Nodularin uptake by seafood during a cyanobacterial bloom. Environmental Toxicology 16(6):468-471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Vargas W, Cumino A, Salerno GL (2003) Cyanobacterial alkaline/neutral invertases. Origin of sucrose hydrolysis in the plant cytosol? Planta 216:951-960Google Scholar
  63. Webb LJ (1969) The use of plant medicines and poisons by Australian Aborigines. Mankind 7(2):137-146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Whitton BA, Potts M (2000) The ecology of cyanobacteria. Their diversity in time and space. The Netherlands: Kluwer AcademicGoogle Scholar
  65. Wood SA, Rasmussen JP, Holland PT, Campbell R, Crowe ALM (2007) First report of the cyanotoxin anatoxin-a from Aphanizomenon issatschenkoi (cyanobacteria). Journal of Phycology 43:356-365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yibarbuk D, Whitehead PJ, Russel-Smith J, Godjuwa JC, Fisher A, Cooke P et al (2001) Fire ecology and Aboriginal land management in central Arnhem Land, northern Australia: a tradition of ecosystem management. Journal of Biogeography 28:325-343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zwickenpflug W, Tyroller S (2006) Reaction of the tobacco alkaloid myosmine with hydrogen peroxide. Chemical Research in Toxicology 19(1):150-155CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Bioactive Discovery in Health and AgeingUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

Personalised recommendations