Solving this mystery was only possible with the help of imaging techniques such as those used at the Max Planck Institute in Bremen. "Imaging mass spectrometry provided a decisive clue here as to where the toxin was to be found. The chemical signal was clearly attributable to the fluorescence signal of the cyanobacteria on the leaves," explain co-authors Benedikt Geier and group leader Manuel Liebeke.
Steffen Breinlinger, Tabitha J. Phillips, Brigette N. Haram, Jan Mareš, José A. Martínez Yerena, Pavel Hrouzek, Roman Sobotka, W. Matthew Henderson, Peter Schmieder, Susan M. Williams, James D. Lauderdale, H. Dayton Wilde, Wesley Gerrin, Andreja Kust, John W. Washington, Christoph Wagner, Benedikt Geier, Manuel Liebeke, Heike Enke, Timo H. J. Niedermeyer, Susan B. Wilde (2021): A cyanobacterial neurotoxin causes vacuolar myelinopathy. Science 371, eaax9050 (2021); 26.03.2021