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La misteriosa carenza oceanica di vitamina B1

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Un articolo di Hakai Magazine spiega il problema della carenza di vitamina B1 in molti ambienti acquatici e non solo. Le cause sono ancora ignote e sono state proposte diverse teorie che chiamano in causa direttamente o indirettamente l’impatto umano sugli ambienti e sul clima.

In a 2016 paper, Balk and 20 coauthors sounded the alarm with a hypothesis that thiamine deficiency might be driving long-term wildlife population declines. Their paper noted that “population sizes of both terrestrial and marine vertebrate species dropped by half” from 1970 to 2012, “and from 1950 to 2010, the global seabird population declined overall” by 70 percent. These downslides, the authors explained, are happening faster than what would be expected of “known threats to biodiversity,” such as habitat loss.

By then, Balk and other scientists had clearly identified inadequate thiamine levels in species around much of the globe, but a root cause of the deficiency remained evasive.

“We’ve thought, It must be something in the air, or something in the water,” says Tracy Collier, an environmental toxicologist based in Seattle, Washington, who has collaborated with Balk on thiamine deficiency research.

Balk is equally mystified, but is confident that humans are to blame. The symptoms he has observed in thiamine deficient animals are so severe, he explains, that if natural phenomena were the cause, affected animal populations would have vanished or adapted long ago. Balk believes human activity is somehow sapping ecosystems of vitamin B1, either by blocking production or obstructing its passage from one trophic level to the next.

Immagine da Wikimedia.

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