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Update on Methodologies Available for Ciguatoxin Determination: Perspectives to Confront the Onset of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in Europe

IRTA, Ctra. Poble Nou, Km 5,5. 43540 Sant Carles de la Ràpita, Spain
Laboratoire des micro-algues toxiques, Institut Louis Malardé, BP30, 98713 Papeete Tahiti, French Polynesia
Institut Pasteur, 25-28 rue du docteur Roux, 75 015 Paris, France
Department of Botany, School of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University, 54 124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Subida a Radio Faro, 50, 36390 Vigo, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
In the whole text, Europe is not understood as the political entity which includes overseas territories but as a continent (geographical definition).
Mar. Drugs 2010, 8(6), 1838-1907;
Received: 6 April 2010 / Revised: 18 May 2010 / Accepted: 10 June 2010 / Published: 14 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biotoxins: Novel Issues about Old Compounds)
Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) occurs mainly when humans ingest finfish contaminated with ciguatoxins (CTXs). The complexity and variability of such toxins have made it difficult to develop reliable methods to routinely monitor CFP with specificity and sensitivity. This review aims to describe the methodologies available for CTX detection, including those based on the toxicological, biochemical, chemical, and pharmaceutical properties of CTXs. Selecting any of these methodological approaches for routine monitoring of ciguatera may be dependent upon the applicability of the method. However, identifying a reference validation method for CTXs is a critical and urgent issue, and is dependent upon the availability of certified CTX standards and the coordinated action of laboratories. Reports of CFP cases in European hospitals have been described in several countries, and are mostly due to travel to CFP endemic areas. Additionally, the recent detection of the CTX-producing tropical genus Gambierdiscus in the eastern Atlantic Ocean of the northern hemisphere and in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the confirmation of CFP in the Canary Islands and possibly in Madeira, constitute other reasons to study the onset of CFP in Europe [1]. The question of the possible contribution of climate change to the distribution of toxin-producing microalgae and ciguateric fish is raised. The impact of ciguatera onset on European Union (EU) policies will be discussed with respect to EU regulations on marine toxins in seafood. Critical analysis and availability of methodologies for CTX determination is required for a rapid response to suspected CFP cases and to conduct sound CFP risk analysis. View Full-Text
Keywords: ciguatera; CFP; ciguatoxin; detection methods; Gambierdiscus; methods; Europe ciguatera; CFP; ciguatoxin; detection methods; Gambierdiscus; methods; Europe
MDPI and ACS Style

Caillaud, A.; De la Iglesia, P.; Darius, H.T.; Pauillac, S.; Aligizaki, K.; Fraga, S.; Chinain, M.; Diogène, J. Update on Methodologies Available for Ciguatoxin Determination: Perspectives to Confront the Onset of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in Europe. Mar. Drugs 2010, 8, 1838-1907.

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