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Special Issue "Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine and Freshwater Toxins".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Natalia Vilariño

Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Veterinaria Campus Universitario, 27002 Lugo, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Guest Editor
Prof. M Carmen Louzao

Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Veterinaria Campus Universitario, 27002 Lugo, Spain
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Algae and cyanobacteria are phytoplankton present in all aquatic environments. Some of them produce natural toxins to which human beings and animals may be exposed to through air, food, drinking water, or recreational activities. However, people are unaware of the threat of toxin exposure, and the potential effects, on their health.

Harmful algal blooms (HABs), caused by the massive growth of toxic phytoplankton, have increased in frequency and severity, suggesting a worldwide environmental and public health risk. In addition, occasionally, HAB events require restrictions on fisheries and recreational and drinking water causing serious economic consequences.

This Special Issue deals with scientific knowledge of the interrelationships between aquatic toxins associated with harmful algal blooms events and adverse human health effects, in order to improve public understanding.

The scope is multidisciplinary, with articles from wide range of subjects encompassing basic research, in vivo animal experiments, epidemiologic studies, risk assessment, and even relevant social and environmental topics.

The Guest Editors encourage integrative approaches with applications in toxin monitoring, promotion of safe environments and implementation of outreach activities to control, prevent or reduce further toxin exposures and to ensure public health.

Prof. Natalia Vilariño
Prof. M Carmen Louzao
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cyanobacteria

  • harmful algae

  • marine toxins

  • freshwater toxins

  • disease surveillance

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Microbial Diversity and Toxin Risk in Tropical Freshwater Reservoirs of Cape Verde
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 5 May 2018
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Abstract
The Cape Verde islands are part of the African Sahelian arid belt that possesses an erratic rain pattern prompting the need for water reservoirs, which are now critical for the country’s sustainability. Worldwide, freshwater cyanobacterial blooms are increasing in frequency due to global
[...] Read more.
The Cape Verde islands are part of the African Sahelian arid belt that possesses an erratic rain pattern prompting the need for water reservoirs, which are now critical for the country’s sustainability. Worldwide, freshwater cyanobacterial blooms are increasing in frequency due to global climate change and the eutrophication of water bodies, particularly in reservoirs. To date, there have been no risk assessments of cyanobacterial toxin production in these man-made structures. We evaluated this potential risk using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and full metagenome sequencing in freshwater reservoirs of Cape Verde. Our analysis revealed the presence of several potentially toxic cyanobacterial genera in all sampled reservoirs. Faveta potentially toxic and bloom-forming Microcystis sp., dominated our samples, while a Cryptomonas green algae and Gammaproteobacteria dominated Saquinho and Poilão reservoirs. We reconstructed and assembled the Microcystis genome, extracted from the metagenome of bulk DNA from Faveta water. Phylogenetic analysis of Microcystis cf. aeruginosa CV01’s genome revealed its close relationship with other Microcystis genomes, as well as clustering with other continental African strains, suggesting geographical coherency. In addition, it revealed several clusters of known toxin-producing genes. This survey reinforces the need to better understand the country’s microbial ecology as a whole of water reservoirs on the rise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceArticle Prorocentrolide-A from Cultured Prorocentrum lima Dinoflagellates Collected in Japan Blocks Sub-Types of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Prorocentrolides are members of the cyclic imine phycotoxins family. Their chemical structure includes a 26-membered carbo-macrocycle and a 28-membered macrocyclic lactone arranged around a hexahydroisoquinoline that incorporates the characteristic cyclic imine group. Six prorocentrolides are already known. However, their mode of action remains
[...] Read more.
Prorocentrolides are members of the cyclic imine phycotoxins family. Their chemical structure includes a 26-membered carbo-macrocycle and a 28-membered macrocyclic lactone arranged around a hexahydroisoquinoline that incorporates the characteristic cyclic imine group. Six prorocentrolides are already known. However, their mode of action remains undetermined. The aim of the present work was to explore whether prorocentrolide-A acts on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), using competition-binding assays and electrophysiological techniques. Prorocentrolide-A displaced [125I]α-bungarotoxin binding to Torpedo membranes, expressing the muscle-type (α12β1γδ) nAChR, and in HEK-293 cells, expressing the chimeric chick neuronal α7-5HT3 nAChR. Functional studies revealed that prorocentrolide-A had no agonist action on nAChRs, but inhibited ACh-induced currents in Xenopus oocytes that had incorporated the muscle-type α12β1γδ nAChR to their membranes, or that expressed the human α7 nAChR, as revealed by voltage-clamp recordings. Molecular docking calculations showed the absence of the characteristic hydrogen bond between the iminium group of prorocentrolide-A and the backbone carbonyl group of Trp147 in the receptor, explaining its weaker affinity as compared to all other cyclic imine toxins. In conclusion, this is the first study to show that prorocentrolide-A acts on both muscle and neuronal nAChRs, but with higher affinity on the muscle-type nAChR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Repeated Dietary Exposure to Low Levels of Domoic Acid and Problems with Everyday Memory: Research to Public Health Outreach
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (257 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Domoic Acid (DA) is a marine-based neurotoxin. Dietary exposure to high levels of DA via shellfish consumption has been associated with Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning, with milder memory decrements found in Native Americans (NAs) with repetitive, lower level exposures. Despite its importance for protective
[...] Read more.
Domoic Acid (DA) is a marine-based neurotoxin. Dietary exposure to high levels of DA via shellfish consumption has been associated with Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning, with milder memory decrements found in Native Americans (NAs) with repetitive, lower level exposures. Despite its importance for protective action, the clinical relevance of these milder memory problems remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine whether repeated, lower-level exposures to DA impact everyday memory (EM), i.e., the frequency of memory failures in everyday life. A cross-sectional sample of 60 NA men and women from the Pacific NW was studied with measures of dietary exposure to DA via razor clam (RC) consumption and EM. Findings indicated an association between problems with EM and elevated consumption of RCs with low levels of DA throughout the previous week and past year after controlling for age, sex, and education. NAs who eat a lot of RCs with presumably safe levels of DA are at risk for clinically significant memory problems. Public health outreach to minimize repetitive exposures are now in place and were facilitated by the use of community-based participatory research methods, with active involvement of state regulatory agencies, tribe leaders, and local physicians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
Open AccessArticle Tectus niloticus (Tegulidae, Gastropod) as a Novel Vector of Ciguatera Poisoning: Clinical Characterization and Follow-Up of a Mass Poisoning Event in Nuku Hiva Island (French Polynesia)
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1044 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is the most prevalent non-bacterial food-borne form of poisoning in French Polynesia, which results from the consumption of coral reef fish naturally contaminated with ciguatoxins produced by dinoflagellates in the genus Gambierdiscus. Since the early 2000s, this French
[...] Read more.
Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is the most prevalent non-bacterial food-borne form of poisoning in French Polynesia, which results from the consumption of coral reef fish naturally contaminated with ciguatoxins produced by dinoflagellates in the genus Gambierdiscus. Since the early 2000s, this French territory has also witnessed the emergence of atypical forms of ciguatera, known as ciguatera shellfish poisoning (CSP), associated with the consumption of marine invertebrates. In June 2014, nine tourists simultaneously developed a major and persistent poisoning syndrome following the consumption of the gastropod Tectus niloticus collected in Anaho, a secluded bay of Nuku Hiva Island (Marquesas Archipelago, French Polynesia). The unusual nature and severity of this event prompted a multidisciplinary investigation in order to characterize the etiology and document the short/long-term health consequences of this mass-poisoning event. This paper presents the results of clinical investigations based on hospital medical records, medical follow-up conducted six and 20 months post-poisoning, including a case description. This study is the first to describe the medical signature of T. niloticus poisoning in French Polynesia and contributed to alerting local authorities about the potential health hazards associated with the consumption of this gastropod, which is highly prized by local communities in Pacific island countries and territories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Tectus niloticus (Tegulidae, Gastropod) as a Novel Vector of Ciguatera Poisoning: Detection of Pacific Ciguatoxins in Toxic Samples from Nuku Hiva Island (French Polynesia)
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2984 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is a foodborne disease caused by the consumption of seafood (fish and marine invertebrates) contaminated with ciguatoxins (CTXs) produced by dinoflagellates in the genus Gambierdiscus. The report of a CFP-like mass-poisoning outbreak following the consumption of Tectus niloticus
[...] Read more.
Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is a foodborne disease caused by the consumption of seafood (fish and marine invertebrates) contaminated with ciguatoxins (CTXs) produced by dinoflagellates in the genus Gambierdiscus. The report of a CFP-like mass-poisoning outbreak following the consumption of Tectus niloticus (Tegulidae, Gastropod) from Anaho Bay on Nuku Hiva Island (Marquesas archipelago, French Polynesia) prompted field investigations to assess the presence of CTXs in T. niloticus. Samples were collected from Anaho Bay, 1, 6 and 28 months after this poisoning outbreak, as well as in Taiohae and Taipivai bays. Toxicity analysis using the neuroblastoma cell-based assay (CBA-N2a) detected the presence of CTXs only in Anaho Bay T. niloticus samples. This is consistent with qPCR results on window screen samples indicating the presence of Gambierdiscus communities dominated by the species G. polynesiensis in Anaho Bay. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analyses revealed that P-CTX-3B was the major congener, followed by P-CTX-3C, P-CTX-4A and P-CTX-4B in toxic samples. Between July 2014 and November 2016, toxin content in T. niloticus progressively decreased, but was consistently above the safety limit recommended for human consumption. This study confirms for the first time T. niloticus as a novel vector of CFP in French Polynesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Management of Ciguatoxin Risk in Eastern Australia
Toxins 2017, 9(11), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins9110367
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 8 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (260 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Between 2014 and 2016, five cases of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), involving twenty four individuals, were linked to Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) caught in the coastal waters of the state of New South Wales (NSW) on the east coast of Australia.
[...] Read more.
Between 2014 and 2016, five cases of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), involving twenty four individuals, were linked to Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) caught in the coastal waters of the state of New South Wales (NSW) on the east coast of Australia. Previously, documented cases of CFP in NSW were few, and primarily linked to fish imported from other regions. Since 2015, thirteen individuals were affected across four additional CFP cases in NSW, linked to fish imported from tropical locations. The apparent increase in CFP in NSW from locally sourced catch, combined with the risk of CFP from imported fish, has highlighted several considerations that should be incorporated into risk management strategies to minimize CFP exposure for seafood consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Prevalence, Variability and Bioconcentration of Saxitoxin-Group in Different Marine Species Present in the Food Chain
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 7 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 12 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4314 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The saxitoxin-group (STX-group) corresponds to toxic metabolites produced by cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates of the genera Alexandrium, Gymnodinium, and Pyrodinium. Over the last decade, it has been possible to extrapolate the areas contaminated with the STX-group worldwide, including Chile, a phenomenon that
[...] Read more.
The saxitoxin-group (STX-group) corresponds to toxic metabolites produced by cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates of the genera Alexandrium, Gymnodinium, and Pyrodinium. Over the last decade, it has been possible to extrapolate the areas contaminated with the STX-group worldwide, including Chile, a phenomenon that has affected ≈35% of the Southern Pacific coast territory, generating a high economic impact. The objective of this research was to study the toxicity of the STX-group in all aquatic organisms (bivalves, algae, echinoderms, crustaceans, tunicates, cephalopods, gastropods, and fish) present in areas with a variable presence of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Then, the toxic profiles of each species and dose of STX equivalents ingested by a 60 kg person from 400 g of shellfish were determined to establish the health risk assessment. The toxins with the highest prevalence detected were gonyautoxin-4/1 (GTX4/GTX1), gonyautoxin-3/2 (GTX3/GTX2), neosaxitoxin (neoSTX), decarbamoylsaxitoxin (dcSTX), and saxitoxin (STX), with average concentrations of 400, 2800, 280, 200, and 2000 µg kg−1 respectively, a species-specific variability, dependent on the evaluated tissue, which demonstrates the biotransformation of the analogues in the trophic transfer with a predominance of α-epimers in all toxic profiles. The identification in multiple vectors, as well as in unregulated species, suggests that a risk assessment and risk management update are required; also, chemical and specific analyses for the detection of all analogues associated with the STX-group need to be established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Human Poisoning from Marine Toxins: Unknowns for Optimal Consumer Protection
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
Marine biotoxins are produced by aquatic microorganisms and accumulate in shellfish or finfish following the food web. These toxins usually reach human consumers by ingestion of contaminated seafood, although other exposure routes like inhalation or contact have also been reported and may cause
[...] Read more.
Marine biotoxins are produced by aquatic microorganisms and accumulate in shellfish or finfish following the food web. These toxins usually reach human consumers by ingestion of contaminated seafood, although other exposure routes like inhalation or contact have also been reported and may cause serious illness. This review shows the current data regarding the symptoms of acute intoxication for several toxin classes, including paralytic toxins, amnesic toxins, ciguatoxins, brevetoxins, tetrodotoxins, diarrheic toxins, azaspiracids and palytoxins. The information available about chronic toxicity and relative potency of different analogs within a toxin class are also reported. The gaps of toxicological knowledge that should be studied to improve human health protection are discussed. In general, gathering of epidemiological data in humans, chronic toxicity studies and exploring relative potency by oral administration are critical to minimize human health risks related to these toxin classes in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessReview Solid Phase Adsorption Toxin Tracking (SPATT) Technology for the Monitoring of Aquatic Toxins: A Review
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
The Solid Phase Adsorption Toxin Tracking (SPATT) technology, first introduced in 2004, uses porous synthetic resins capable of passively adsorbing toxins produced by harmful microalgae or cyanobacteria and dissolved in the water. This method allows for the detection of toxic compounds directly in
[...] Read more.
The Solid Phase Adsorption Toxin Tracking (SPATT) technology, first introduced in 2004, uses porous synthetic resins capable of passively adsorbing toxins produced by harmful microalgae or cyanobacteria and dissolved in the water. This method allows for the detection of toxic compounds directly in the water column and offers numerous advantages over current monitoring techniques (e.g., shellfish or fish testing and microalgae/cyanobacteria cell detection), despite some limitations. Numerous laboratory and field studies, testing different adsorbent substrates of which Diaion® HP20 resin appears to be the most versatile substrate, have been carried out worldwide to assess the applicability of these passive monitoring devices to the detection of toxins produced by a variety of marine and freshwater microorganisms. SPATT technology has been shown to provide reliable, sensitive and time-integrated sampling of various aquatic toxins, and also has the potential to provide an early warning system for both the occurrence of toxic microalgae or cyanobacteria and bioaccumulation of toxins in foodstuffs. This review describes the wide range of lipophilic and hydrophilic toxins associated with toxin-producing harmful algal blooms (HABs) that are successfully detected by SPATT devices. Implications in terms of monitoring of emerging toxic risks and reinforcement of current risk assessment programs are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessReview Impact of Scyphozoan Venoms on Human Health and Current First Aid Options for Stings
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Cnidaria include the most venomous animals of the world. Among Cnidaria, Scyphozoa (true jellyfish) are ubiquitous, abundant, and often come into accidental contact with humans and, therefore, represent a threat for public health and safety. The venom of Scyphozoa is a complex mixture
[...] Read more.
Cnidaria include the most venomous animals of the world. Among Cnidaria, Scyphozoa (true jellyfish) are ubiquitous, abundant, and often come into accidental contact with humans and, therefore, represent a threat for public health and safety. The venom of Scyphozoa is a complex mixture of bioactive substances—including thermolabile enzymes such as phospholipases, metalloproteinases, and, possibly, pore-forming proteins—and is only partially characterized. Scyphozoan stings may lead to local and systemic reactions via toxic and immunological mechanisms; some of these reactions may represent a medical emergency. However, the adoption of safe and efficacious first aid measures for jellyfish stings is hampered by the diffusion of folk remedies, anecdotal reports, and lack of consensus in the scientific literature. Species-specific differences may hinder the identification of treatments that work for all stings. However, rinsing the sting site with vinegar (5% acetic acid) and the application of heat (hot pack/immersion in hot water) or lidocaine appear to be substantiated by evidence. Controlled clinical trials or reliable models of envenomation are warranted to confirm the efficacy and safety of these approaches and identify possible species-specific exceptions. Knowledge of the precise composition of Scyphozoa venom may open the way to molecule-oriented therapies in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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Open AccessReview EU Regulatory Risk Management of Marine Biotoxins in the Marine Bivalve Mollusc Food-Chain
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
Food safety risk assessment in the European Union (EU) recognises consumer illness that arises from marine biotoxins as a risk associated with bivalve mollusc consumption. EU food regulations contain various general food safety obligations, which should contribute significantly to managing this risk. EU
[...] Read more.
Food safety risk assessment in the European Union (EU) recognises consumer illness that arises from marine biotoxins as a risk associated with bivalve mollusc consumption. EU food regulations contain various general food safety obligations, which should contribute significantly to managing this risk. EU food regulations additionally impose various specific obligations on both Food Business Operators and Competent Authorities in order to manage the marine biotoxin food safety risk in the bivalve mollusc food-chain. These have a particular focus on the pre-harvest component of the food-chain. A central component of these specific systems is the requirement for ongoing monitoring of phytoplankton and biotoxin concentrations in water and molluscs, respectively. This monitoring explicitly brings a potential outcome of closing production areas delineated by classification to prohibit the harvest of bivalve molluscs as food from those areas when acceptable biotoxin concentrations are exceeded. This review considers the utility of these systems, at conceptual and practical levels, and explores their contribution to an effective regulatory risk management approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
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