Food affected by Fukushima disaster harms animals, even at low-levels of radiation

Butterflies eating food collected from cities around the Fukushima nuclear meltdown site showed higher rates of death and disease, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Researchers fed groups of pale blue grass (Zizeeria maha) leaves from six different areas at varying distance from the disaster site, and then investigated the effects on the next generation. Feeding offspring the same contaminated leaves as their parents magnified the effects of the radiation. But offspring fed uncontaminated leaves were mostly like normal butterflies, and the authors say this shows that decontaminating the food source can save the next generation.

The 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant released substantial amounts of radiation into the surrounding area. Humans were evacuated, and no significant health effects have been reported, but the scientists from the University of the Rukyus, Okinawa, Japan, are studying the impact on the area's wildlife.

In a previous study, the group suggested that eating leaves with high levels of radiation seriously affected the pale grass blue butterfly. Their new study investigated the effect of eating leaves with much lower levels of radiation, which had been collected in 2012, a year after the disaster, from six areas that were 59km to 1760km from the site.

Their study showed that even in these comparatively low levels of radiation, there was an observable difference in the butterflies' lifespan, depending on the dose of caesium radiation in their food, which ranged from 0.2 to 161bq/kg. For comparison, leaves collected in the months after the disaster around 20km from the site had radiation in the thousands of Bq/kg. Butterflies fed leaves with higher caesium radiation doses were also smaller and some had morphological abnormalities such as unusually shaped wings.

Professor Joji Otaki, University of Rukyus, says: "Wildlife has probably been damaged even at relatively low doses of radiation, and our research showed that sensitivity varies among individuals within a species."

In the second part of the experiment, the researchers looked at the next generation of butterflies. These were split into groups fed an uncontaminated diet, and those fed the same diets as their parents.

The offspring fed an uncontaminated diet had a similar lifespan, irrespective of the amount of their parents had been exposed to. The only effect seemed to be that those whose parents had been exposed to higher caesium diets had smaller forewings. But those fed the same contaminated diet as their parents showed magnified effects.

The authors say that this shows that the effects of eating can be significant, and that they can be passed on, but are minimized if the next generation have an unaffected diet.

Professor Otaki says: "Our study demonstrated that eating contaminated foods could cause serious on organisms. Such negative effects may be passed down the generations. On the bright side, eating non-contaminated food improves the negative effects, even in the next generation."

Explore further

Biological effects of Fukushima radiation on plants, insects, and animals

More information: Ingestion of radioactively contaminated diets for two generations in the pale grass blue butterfly, Chiyo Nohara, Wataru Taira, Atsuki Hiyama, Akira Tanahara, Toshihiro Takatsuji and Joji M. Otaki , BMC Evolutionary Biology 2014, 14: 193,
Journal information: BMC Evolutionary Biology

Provided by BioMed Central
Citation: Food affected by Fukushima disaster harms animals, even at low-levels of radiation (2014, September 22) retrieved 25 May 2019 from
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Sep 23, 2014
Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. http://www.ncbi.n...24693349

Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.

These two articles (above) link RNA-directed DNA methylation from nutrient uptake 1) to the metabolism of nutrients to 2) species specific pheromones that 3) control the physiology of reproduction in 4) species from microbes to man via 5) fixation of amino acid substitutions in the 6) DNA of 7) organized genomes.

Simply put, RNA-mediated events link ecological variation to ecological adaptations in species from microbes to man without the pseudoscientific nonsense about mutations, natural selection, and the evolution of biodiversity, which is refuted by the evidence reported in this article.

Sep 23, 2014
The article on the ingestion of contaminated leaves comes from:

http://www.biomed...ehaviour Evolutionary ecology and behaviour

Excerpt: This section considers studies in the areas of evolutionary behavior and ecology including sexual conflict and selection.

However, the article on the ingestion of contaminated leaves shows that nothing evolved. It shows how nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations lead to biodiversity manifested in the morphological and behavioral phenotypes of the butterflies without pseudoscientific nonsense of mutations, natural selection and the evolution of biodiversity.

See other articles that also refute neo-Darwinism and ask yourself "How much longer will theorists continue to tell us that species evolve via mutations and natural selection."

Sep 23, 2014
JVK: This is utterly unrelated to nutrients. It's about radioactive contamination.

James V Kohl, it is particularly sad that you would spam your pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo on a topic of such critical public health importance to the affected population.

It's the perfect illustration for just how toxic the crank science mindset is on public health.

Or in your case, would be if anybody listened to your opinion. Because let's face it, nobody does. Your sophomoric garbage has been debunked countless times.

PZ Myers, University Professor. James V Kohl, internet troll. 'nuff said lol!

Sep 23, 2014
What is it with thisKohl troll and PZ Myers?

Is it envy at Myers' success?

Is it shame at his own failings?

Sep 23, 2014
Vitamin C protects against ionizing radiation damage to goblet cells of the ileum in rats

MicroRNA-627 Mediates the Epigenetic Mechanisms of Vitamin D to Suppress Proliferation of Human Colorectal Cancer Cells and Growth of Xenograft Tumors in Mice

In my model nutrient uptake links the altered microRNA/messenger RNA balance from RNA-directed DNA methylation to ecological adaptations manifested in morphological and behavioral diversity that arises in the context of biophysically-constrained chemical bonds and conserved molecular mechanisms of cell type differentiation.

PZ Myers understanding of cell type differentiation is limited to ridiculous theories about mutations, natural selection and the evolution of biodiversity. You seem to think his opinions make sense, but that biologically-based cause and effect does not.

Who taught you to believe in nonsense?

Sep 23, 2014
Myers success is limited to those who think he understands biologically-based cause and effect, which nearly everyone knows he does not. Only among his idiot minions does he seem to have somehow established himself. Among serious scientists he is known to be a fool, because he is one.

"It is true that there are a lot of self-important gasbags high on the "Kardashian" list who have stopped contributing to science decades ago (PZ Myers comes to mind, among many others), people who are essentially using their scientific soapbox only to bloviate about ideological pet interests they are ill equipped to fully comprehend."

See for comparison: Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.

Sep 23, 2014
"Our research is highly interdisciplinary. The methods we use range from
molecular modeling of protein structures, to bioinformatics analysis of
epigenomic data generated by sequencing technology, to statistical
learning of genetic network, to biophysical modeling of epigenetic
landscape. The theoretical work is tightly coupled with experimental
investigation that exploits molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology
and genomic techniques."

A Histone Methylation Network Regulates Transgenerational Epigenetic Memory in C. elegans

Predicting the human epigenome from DNA motifs

RNA-directed DNA methylation predicts nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations in my model via RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions, which are fixed by the epigenetic effects of pheromones on the physiology of reproduction.

Sep 27, 2014
depending on the dose of caesium radiation in their food, which ranged from 0.2 to 161bq/kg. For comparison, leaves collected in the months after the disaster around 20km from the site had radiation in the thousands of Bq/kg.

That's actually good news, because it means the weather is dilluting it and washing it out to sea, where it can be dispersed across 3 dimensions of water collumn.

At this rate, almost all the contamination on land will be washed away within a few more years.

Maybe they should check data on Fish and amphibians from ponds, lakes, and streams, where the contaminant may be accumulating in the mud, algae, and other aquatic plants.

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