Dinophysis acuta in Scottish Coastal Waters and Its Influence on Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxin Profiles

Sarah Swan, Andrew Turner, Eileen Bresnan, Callum Whyte, Ruth Paterson, Sharon Mcneill, Elaine Mitchell, Keith Davidson

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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Diarrhetic shellfish toxins produced by the dinoflagellate genus Dinophysis are a major problem for the shellfish industry worldwide. Separate species of the genus have been associated with the production of different analogues of the okadaic acid group of toxins. To evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of Dinophysis species and toxins in the important shellfish-harvesting region of the Scottish west coast, we analysed data collected from 1996 to 2017 in two contrasting locations: Loch Ewe and the Clyde Sea. Seasonal studies were also undertaken, in Loch Ewe in both 2001 and 2002, and in the Clyde in 2015. Dinophysis acuminata was present throughout the growing season during every year of the study, with blooms typically occurring between May and September at both locations. The appearance of D. acuta was interannually sporadic and, when present, was most abundant in the late summer and autumn. The Clyde field study in 2015 indicated the importance of a temperature front in the formation of a D. acuta bloom. A shift in toxin profiles of common mussels (Mytilus edulis) tested during regulatory monitoring was evident, with a proportional decrease in okadaic acid (OA) and dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX1) and an increase in dinophysistoxin-2 (DTX2) occurring when D. acuta became dominant. Routine enumeration of Dinophysis to species level could provide early warning of potential contamination of shellfish with DTX2 and thus determine the choice of the most suitable kit for effective end-product testing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number399
Number of pages20
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2018


  • Dinophysis
  • HAB monitoring
  • DSP toxins
  • aquaculture
  • shellfish toxicity
  • human health
  • time-series
  • seasonality
  • Scotland


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