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A toxin (from Ancient Greek: τοξικόν toxikon) is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms;[1][2] synthetic toxicants created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919).[3]

Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by body tissues interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes or cellular receptors. Toxins vary greatly in their severity, ranging from usually minor (such as a bee sting) to almost immediately deadly (such as botulinum toxin).

Environmental toxinsEdit

The term "environmental toxin" can sometimes explicitly include synthetic contaminants [4] such as industrial pollutants and other artificially made toxic substances. As this contradicts most formal definitions of the term "toxin", it is important to confirm what the researcher means when encountering the term outside of microbiological contexts.

Environmental toxins from food chains that may be dangerous to human health include:

Finding information about toxinsEdit

The Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP)[15] at the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) maintains a comprehensive toxicology and environmental health web site that includes access to toxins-related resources produced by TEHIP and by other government agencies and organizations. This web site includes links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other scientific and consumer-oriented resources. TEHIP also is responsible for the Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET),[16] an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web.

TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) that is part of TOXNET. TOXMAP uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory and Superfund Basic Research Programs.

Computational resources for prediction of toxic peptides and proteinsEdit

One of the bottlenecks in peptide/protein-based therapy is their toxicity. Recently, in silico models for predicting toxicity of peptides and proteins, developed by Gajendra Pal Singh Raghava's group,[17] predict toxicity with reasonably good accuracy. The prediction models are based on machine learning technique and quantitative matrix using various properties of peptides. The prediction tool is freely accessible to public in the form of web server - ToxinPred at http://crdd.osdd.net/raghava/toxinpred/.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "toxin" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
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  3. http://books.google.co.za/books?id=oWhqhK1cE-gC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=Ludwig+Brieger+[1849-1919]&source=bl&ots=7fa0fkkgkV&sig=ItABIJkoSsxyTdM9ts3iSSD3NQc&hl=en&ei=2lwmTKuaH4i6jAffyMGUAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Ludwig%20Brieger%20[1849-1919]&f=false
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  15. SIS.nlm.nih.gov
  16. Toxnet.nlm.nih.gov
  17. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0073957

External linksEdit

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