DOI: 10.1007/s12640-017-9744-7 Pages: 1-8

Methods for the Chemical Analysis of β-N-Methylamino-L-A lanine: What Is Known and What Remains to Be Determined

1. Brain Chemistry Labs, Institute for Ethnomedicine

2. University of British Columbia, Department of Chemistry

Correspondence to:
Sandra Anne Banack
Tel: 1-307-734-1680



β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is a non-canonical amino acid implicated as a cause for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/parkinsonism dementia complex and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases. As interest in this molecule has increased, there has been a proliferation of methods along with a plethora of opinions as to the superiority of some methods over others. We analyzed the literature with reference to BMAA and its naturally occurring isomers, N-(2-aminoethyl) glycine (AEG) and 2,4 diaminobutyric acid (DAB). A comparison of methods, results, and critiques reveal that a single method has been approved by the AOAC but several different methods provide comparable BMAA quantification concentrations in similar tissues. We also describe a productive way to move forward as technology improves and changes.

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  • Accepted: Apr 21, 2017
  • Online: May 4, 2017
  • Revised: Apr 11, 2017

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