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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Maritime Knowledge Hub Opens in the UK

Business owners across the U.K. wanting to drive growth in the maritime sector are being urged to engage with the newly opened Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead, Liverpool City Region.

Williamson Named GM of Donjon-Smit

Donjon-Smit, LLC, an OPA-90 Alliance, announced that after a recent Board of Directors meeting Tim Williamson has been promoted to General Manager of Donjon-Smit,

Fundraiser Held for USS Gerald R. Ford Crew

Blackmer, a company in positive displacement and centrifugal pump and reciprocating compressor technologies, has a relationship with the U.S. Military that dates

Environmental

Lloyd's Register Extends Drilling Rig Integrity Support

Exploration begins by BHP Billiton using the Deepwater Invictus rig and supported by Lloyd’s Register’s rig integrity team. Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced it

Groningen Seaports First in Line for Damen InvaSave

The first production version of Damen’s InvaSave ballast water treatment system – intended for use at Groningen Seaports – will be on display at the upcoming ‘DelfSail’

Charting the Shift of Oceanic Boundary Currents

Global warming results in fundamental changes to important ocean currents. As scientists from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute show in a new study, wind-driven subtropical

Marine Science

Advanced MacGregor Technology for Polar Research Ship

MacGregor, part of Cargotec, has won an order to supply MacGregor offshore cranes and a Triplex handling system for a 14,300gt polar research vessel being built

Charting the Shift of Oceanic Boundary Currents

Global warming results in fundamental changes to important ocean currents. As scientists from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute show in a new study, wind-driven subtropical

UK First to Accept Marine Geoengineering Amendments

The United Kingdom has become the first State to formally accept the 2013 marine geoengineering amendments to the 1996 “London Protocol”, the treaty covering dumping of wastes at sea.

People in the News

Williamson Named GM of Donjon-Smit

Donjon-Smit, LLC, an OPA-90 Alliance, announced that after a recent Board of Directors meeting Tim Williamson has been promoted to General Manager of Donjon-Smit,

Lerwick Port Set to Receive Largest Cruise ship

Lerwick Harbour’s record-breaking cruise season will hit the first of several milestones this season on Thursday (30 June) with the arrival of Azura, the largest

Another Fugro Vessels Joins Largest SEEP-Hunting Survey

Fugro has deployed multi-purpose offshore survey vessel Fugro Gauss to join the Fugro Brasilis offshore Mexico, to help complete the world’s largest seep-hunting

Ocean Observation

The Historical Passage of Cosco Shipping Panama

The Chinese giant Cosco Shipping  has made the inaugural transit on Sunday June 26, 2016  through the expanded Panama Canal expansion project , event appreciated

World Trade Routes Won't be the Same with Expanded Panama Canal!

On 26th June 2016, a landmark development for the shipping industry will occur with the opening of the new third set of locks at the Panama Canal. Clarksons Research takes a look.

CMA CGM to use Kingston As Transshipment Hub

French shipping giant CMA CGM plans to use Kingston Container Terminal,  Jamaica as a strategic Caribbean transshipment hub for an enlarged Panama Canal. The Port connects to US East Coast,

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.1179 sec (8 req/sec)