Non-Smoking Seals Have More CO, Dive Deep

By George Backwell
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Deep diving animals & Michael Tift: Photo credit NMFS permit #14636 SIO

Carbon monoxide (symbol CO) a potential new treatment for human diseases, has been found in elephant seals at levels on a par with chronic cigarette smokers, according to resarch by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

With its imperceptible features, carbon monoxide is widely known as the “silent killer” due to its risks at lethal concentrations. Far less known is that carbon monoxide is produced naturally in small quantities in humans and animals, and in recent years medical researchers have evaluated the gas as a treatment for diabetes, heart attacks, sepsis, and other illnesses.

Now scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego say they have furthered science’s understanding of carbon monoxide’s natural characteristics and limitations by studying the gas in one of the world’s best divers: the elephant seal.

Colorless and odorless, carbon monoxide (CO) is now monitored in many homes with inexpensive detectors. In human bodies, CO is produced naturally as a byproduct of the breakdown of hemoglobin—molecules responsible for transporting oxygen—inside red blood cells. Roughly one percent of the hemoglobin inside healthy human adults is linked with carbon monoxide, with elevated percentages for chronic cigarette smokers due to the absorption of CO through tobacco inhalation. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin to form a compound called carboxyhemoglobin, a molecule which can no longer bind and transport oxygen in the blood.

As described in the May 14 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, Scripps graduate student Michael Tift, Scripps research physiologist Paul Ponganis, and Daniel Crocker of Sonoma State University sought to learn more about carbon monoxide levels in elephant seals, which have the highest blood volume of any mammal and are renowned for their extreme diving proficiency. Elephant seals and other highly efficient divers conserve oxygen by shutting off blood flow to peripheral areas of their body and conserving oxygen for vital organs such as the heart, brain, and lungs.

To their surprise, the researchers discovered that carbon monoxide is bound to 10 percent of the hemoglobin in adult elephant seals, or 10 times the amount found in healthy humans, and roughly comparable to someone who smokes 40 cigarettes per day.

“We found that the elephant seal is able to reach incredible depths, apparently with lots of carbon monoxide, so these results are helping us find answers for the rates at which you can expose organs and tissues to this gas,” said Tift. “The elephant seal is giving us the big picture of which concentrations of carbon monoxide might be the most beneficial.”

Scripps inform that the Office of Naval Research, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation funded the research project.

Source: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego
 

Maritime Reporter August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Norwegian to Buy Prestige Cruises in $3b Deal

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.O) said it would buy Prestige Cruises International Inc from its owner Apollo Global Management LLC (APO.N) in a $3 billion

Evergreen Upgrades its Intra-Asia Service Network

Evergreen Line announced it will partner with Mariana Express in launching a joint South China- East Malaysia (SEM) Service. The new initiative will give a boost

Bureau Veritas Diversifies with MatthewsDaniel Acquisition

Bureau Veritas announced today that it has acquired MatthewsDaniel Ltd, a global provider of loss adjusting and risk assessment services for the offshore industry.

Environmental

Ballast Water Leadership

Admiral Paul Zukunft, the new U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, could fill the BWT leadership void. Global efforts to combat the spread of invasive species in ballast

BSEE Conducts Oil Spill Response Equipment Review

Earlier this week, BSEE's Oil Spill Response Division (OSRD) conducted an onsite review of oil spill response equipment listed in DCOR, LLC's Oil Spill Response Plan for platforms offshore Long Beach,

Polar Code Afoot

The IMO is on the verge of adopting the Polar Code, something that is important and long overdue. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations,

Marine Science

VIKING Steps Up Pace of Innovation at SMM

This year’s SMM in Hamburg will see VIKING release more innovations than at any other point in its 50-year history, including new developments in PPE clothing,

VIKING Saatsea Puts Crew Training in its Place

VIKING Saatsea will be at SMM 2014 to showcase the revolution it has brought about in crew training – moving everything on board to cut costs, speed up certification,

BMT WBM to Showcase TUFLOW at World Bank Seminar

BMT WBM ( (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, a leading international engineering and risk management consultancy, is delighted to announce that it will be presenting

People in the News

Ballast Water Leadership

Admiral Paul Zukunft, the new U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, could fill the BWT leadership void. Global efforts to combat the spread of invasive species in ballast

Joe Barton: Lift Oil Export Ban

A senior U.S. Congressman from Texas has come out in full support of the United States lifting the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports, putting him at odds with

Navy Unmanned Aircraft Sets the Bar

The Navy's X-47B unmanned aircraft has completed its final test aboard 'USS Theodore Roosevelt' (CVN 71) and has returned to its home base at Naval Air Station Patuxent River after eight days at sea
,

Ocean Observation

BMT WBM to Showcase TUFLOW at World Bank Seminar

BMT WBM ( (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, a leading international engineering and risk management consultancy, is delighted to announce that it will be presenting

Rosneft Restores Meteorological Observations System in Kara Sea

As part of a large-scale summer Arctic research expedition "Kara-Summer - 2014" a meteorological station was installed that meets the latest modern requirements for such equipment,

Schlumberger Launches First Photorealistic Reservoir Geology Service

Schlumberger today launched the Quanta Geo* photorealistic reservoir geology service at the Offshore Northern Seas Annual Conference and Exhibition. The new

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1945 sec (5 req/sec)