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Goldfish Make Alcohol to Survive Without Oxygen in Water : Study

"Putting an average sized goldfish into a pint glass and closing it off from the air would take more than 100 days to get the alcohol concentration of a typical lager"

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Goldfish produce alcohol to survive without oxygen
Goldfish can survive without oxygen. Pixabay
  • Scientists at the University of Oslo and Liverpool revealed, how goldfish produce alcohol to survive harsh winters beneath frozen lakes without oxygen
  • Goldfish have evolved a set of enzymes that help them convert anaerobically produced lactic acid into ethanol 
  • The crucian carp produce 50 to 100 mg alcohol per ml in their blood

London, August 13, 2017: A team of scientists has uncovered how goldfish survive the harsh winters beneath frozen lakes by producing alcohol.

Scientists at the Universities of Oslo and Liverpool said that during winters, the fish are able to convert anaerobically produced lactic acid into ethanol, which then diffuses across their gills into the surrounding water and avoids a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in the body.

This helps the fish and their wild relatives, crucian carp survive for days, even months, in oxygen-free water at the bottom of ice-covered ponds.

During their time in oxygen-free water in ice-covered ponds, which can last for several months in their northern European habitat, blood alcohol concentrations in crucian carp can reach more than 50 mg per 100 millilitres, which is above the drink drive limit in these countries, said Dr Michael Berenbrink from University of Liverpool in the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

ALSO READ: Scientists in Peru Grow small Potato Plant in Mars Simulator influenced by Hollywood movie ” The Martian”

However, this is still a much better situation than filling up with lactic acid, which is the metabolic end product for other vertebrates, including humans, when devoid of oxygen, Berenbrink added.

The muscles of goldfish and crucian carp contain two sets of the proteins normally used to channel carbohydrates towards their breakdown within a cell’s mitochondria.

The second set is activated by the lack of oxygen and shows a mutation that allows channelling of metabolic substrates to ethanol formation outside the mitochondria.

This research emphasises the role of whole genome duplications in the evolution of biological novelty and the adaptation of species to previously inhospitable environments, said lead author Dr Cathrine Elisabeth Fagernes from the University of Oslo.

The ethanol production allows the crucian carp to be the only fish species surviving and exploiting these harsh environments, thereby avoiding competition and escaping predation by other fish species with which they normally interact in better oxygenated waters, Elisabeth noted. (IANS)

Next Story

After Gorakhpur Tragedy, in UP 49 Children die in a Farrukhabad hospital due to lack of oxygen

The death of 49 children at the newborn unit of Farrukhabad’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital happened over the past 30 days due to lack of oxygen supply

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Lack of oxygen supply causes death of 49 children in Farrukhabad hospital
Lack of oxygen supply causes death of 49 children in Farrukhabad hospital. Pixabay
  • The death of 49 children at the newborn unit of Farrukhabad’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital happened over the past 30 days due to lack of oxygen supply
  • the Uttar Pradesh government has denied that the reason for deaths was lack of oxygen supply but said that it happened due to various other causes
  • A team led by Director General Health is visiting the hospital soon to inquire in detail

Farrukhabad , Uttar Pradesh, September 4, 2017: A case similar to BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur happened in a Farrukhabad hospital that is Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where as per the initial report of the City Magistrate Jaytendra Kumar Jain stated that the 49 children died in farrukhabad Hospital due to lack of oxygen supply.

The deaths at the newborn unit of Farrukhabad’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital happened over the past 30 days.

Jaytendra Kumar Jain, City Magistrate of Farrukhabad, on Sunday night asked the Station House Officer (SHO) of City Police station Farrukhabad to take required action against the hospital and its doctors.

But, the Uttar Pradesh government has denied that the reason for deaths was lack of oxygen supply but said that it happened due to various other causes. They gave a similar statement in Gorakhpur Tragedy initially.

Also Read: Gorakhpur Tragedy: UP Police arrests Pediatrician Dr. Kafeel Ahmad on grounds of Medical Negligence

The police at city Police station registered a FIR immediately. After which the UP government today removed Ravindra Kumar, District Magistrate, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the district and Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital. “The FIR has been registered under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 176 (omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it) of the IPC.”

The city magistrate, Jaytendra Kumar Jain, on the basis of the preliminary findings, has stated “perinatal asphyxia” (it is the medical condition resulting due to the deprivation of oxygen to a newborn infant) as the reason for death in 30 cases. The parents complained that their children were not given adequate oxygen and medicines during treatment.

But, the state government refused to accept the initial findings of the City Magistrate and said that the Director General Medical leading a technical team of doctors is being sent to Farrukhabad to inquire about the cause of deaths.

According to Indian Express reports, Prashant Trivedi, Principal Secretary, Medical and Health, Uttar Pradesh Government said “Oxygen is in proper supply at the hospital. There is no basis to blame lack of oxygen supply (for the deaths) at the hospital. A team led by Director General Health is visiting the hospital soon to inquire in detail.”

He also informed that in the hospital total 468 births took place out of which 19 were still born. He added that though 66 were admitted to the hospital, 6 had died.

Trivedi also said, “145 children were referred to this hospital from other places, out of which 24 died at the hospital while others recovered.”

Also Read: What if Another Gorakhpur Tragedy Happens? 15-Year-Old Khushi Chandra Launches Initiative ‘Oxygen Gorakhpur’ to Combat Oxygen-Related Emergencies

Avanish Awasthi, Principal Secretary, Information Department, said, “Out of these 49 deaths, 19 were stillborn and the remaining 30 children died of different causes.” But he accepted that one of the causes of death of 30 children was “Perinata Asphyxia” indeed.

Awasthi said that the exact cause of the deaths would be known when the Director General Health who would lead the technical team of doctors would inquire into the incident.

It has not even been 30 days when over 60 children died in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical and College Hospital due to the alleged lack of oxygen supply.


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