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

People & Company News

Delta "T" Hooks for Offshore Customer

Gaining further ground into the offshore crane market, Delta "T" Systems supplied Cranston Eagle hooks to crane manufacturer Appleton Marine, Inc.   These cranes

St. Lawrence Seaway Workers Extend Strike Deadline

The union that represents workers on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the waterway that links the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, has extended a strike deadline to Monday at 5 p.

New Functionality in WatchMate Vision

Vesper Marine has announced updates to its WatchMate Vision and XB-8000 product lines.   Now, in addition to transmitting and receiving position, course, speed

Environmental

DNV GL Approvals for SAACKE Scrubbers

Classification increases planning certainty for exhaust gas scrubber operators.   The classification society DNV GL has certified the SAACKE exhaust gas scrubber

Ship Emissions: Chevron Lube Gains Key Approval

A new Chevron Marine Lubricants 100 BN cylinder oil, which is designed to offer ship owners the ability to achieve the latest emissions legislation, has received full sign off from a key engine maker.

GAC Starts Hull Cleaning Op'ns in Oman

GAC EnvironHull hull cleaning operations using the brush-and-diver-free HullWiper system starting at the port of Sohar, just outside the Gulf of Hormuz. This

Marine Science

Study Shows Oceans Arrived Early to Earth

Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life.

Chevron - First Gas from Bangladesh Bibiyana Project

Chevron Corporation today announced that its Bangladesh subsidiary has commenced natural gas production from the Bibiyana Expansion Project in the northeastern part of the country.

Chevron Sanctions Stampede Project

Chevron Corporation announced today that its subsidiary, Union Oil Company of California (Union), has reached a final investment decision to proceed with the

People in the News

Libyan Government: Ports, Oil Fields Safe

Libyan oil ports and fields are safe and under government control, the country's interior minister said on Friday after visting the eastern Brega port. "This

China to Import 335 MT of Naphtha, Wants More

China is set to import more than 335,000 tonnes of naphtha and diesel, rare moves for the world's no. 2 oil consumer given it has been self-sufficient at meeting domestic oil product demand,

Somali Pirates free Indian Sailors after 4 Years

Somali pirates have freed seven Indian sailors detained for close to four years in exchange for an undisclosed ransom, Somali officials and a maritime monitoring group said on Friday.

Ocean Observation

Class NK Eyes Singapore Renewable Energy Facility

ClassNK has launched a feasibility study for a new marine renewable energy testing facility to be built in Singapore.   The announcement was made at the 2014

Study Shows Oceans Arrived Early to Earth

Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life.

Transneft Cites Weather, Suspends Some Liftings

Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft has suspended oil loadings through all Russian ports except for Makhachkala due to bad weather conditions, RIA news agency said on Monday.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Sonar Winch
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: 0.3781 sec (3 req/sec)