The value of toxin profiles in the chemotaxonomic analysis of paralytic shellfish toxins in determining the relationship between British Alexandrium spp. and experimentally contaminated Mytilus sp.

Adam M. Lewis, Karl J. Dean, David M. Hartnell, Linda Percy, Andrew D. Turner, Jane M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although phytoplankton is ubiquitous in the world's oceans some species can produce compounds that cause damaging effects in other organisms. These include the toxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning, which, in UK waters, are produced by dinoflagellates from the Alexandrium genus. Within Great Britain (GB) a monitoring programme exists to detect this harmful genus as well as the Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins in the flesh of shellfish from classified production areas. The techniques used for toxin analysis allow for detailed analysis of the toxin profiles present in contaminated shellfish. It is possible to compare the toxin profiles of contaminated shellfish with the profiles from toxin producing algae and use this information to infer the causative microalgal species responsible for the contamination. This study sought to evaluate the potential for this process within the GB monitoring framework. Two species of toxic Alexandrium, A. catenella from Scotland and A. minutum from Southern England, were fed to mussels (Mytilus sp.) under controlled conditions. The toxin profile in mussels derived from feeding on each species independently, when mixed and when introduced sequentially was analysed and compared to the source algal cultures using K means cluster analysis. Toxin profiles in contaminated shellfish clustered with those of the causative algae and separately from one another during toxin accumulation and, where A. catenella was the sole toxin source, during depuration. During depuration after feeding with A. minutum and where mixed or sequential feeding was undertaken deviant toxin profiles were observed. Finally, data generated within this experimental study were compared to monitoring data from the GB official control programme. These data indicated that the causative algal species in sole source contaminations could be inferred from toxin profile analysis. This technique will be of benefit within monitoring programmes to enhance the value of data with minimal additional expense, where the toxin profiles of causative microalgae have been well described.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102131
JournalHarmful Algae
Volume111
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Alexandrium
  • Chemotaxonomy
  • Harmful algae
  • Paralytic shellfish poisoning

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