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Open AccessArticle

Ciguatoxin Occurrence in Food-Web Components of a Cuban Coral Reef Ecosystem: Risk-Assessment Implications

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Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos, Ciudad Nuclear, Cienfuegos 59350, Cuba
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Environment Laboratories, Department of Nuclear Science and Application, International Atomic Energy Agency, 4 Quai Antoine 1er, MC 98000 Monaco, Monaco
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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Los Angeles, 621 Charles E Young Dr S, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1606, USA
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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Beaufort Laboratory, 101 Pivers Island Rd., Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
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Refugio de Fauna Cayo Santa María, Gaviota S.A., Villa Clara 53100, Cuba
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Ifremer, Laboratory of Environment and Resources Western Britanny, Coastal Research Unit, Place de la Croix, B.P. 40537, 29185 Concarneau CEDEX, France
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Ocean Tester, LLC, 295 Dills Point Road, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
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Marine Environmental Monitoring, IRTA, Ctra. Poble Nou km 5.5, 43540 Sant Carles de la Ràpita, Spain
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Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, IOC Science and Communication Centre on Harmful Algae, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(12), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11120722
Received: 27 September 2019 / Revised: 7 November 2019 / Accepted: 8 November 2019 / Published: 11 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Toxins Detection)
In Cuba, ciguatera poisoning associated with fish consumption is the most commonly occurring non-bacterial seafood-borne illness. Risk management through fish market regulation has existed in Cuba for decades and consists of bans on selected species above a certain weight; however, the actual occurrence of ciguatoxins (CTXs) in seafood has never been verified. From this food safety risk management perspective, a study site locally known to be at risk for ciguatera was selected. Analysis of the epiphytic dinoflagellate community identified the microalga Gambierdiscus. Gambierdiscus species included six of the seven species known to be present in Cuba (G. caribaeus, G. belizeanus, G. carpenteri, G. carolinianus, G. silvae, and F. ruetzleri). CTX-like activity in invertebrates, herbivorous and carnivorous fishes were analyzed with a radioligand receptor-binding assay and, for selected samples, with the N2A cell cytotoxicity assay. CTX activity was found in 80% of the organisms sampled, with toxin values ranging from 2 to 8 ng CTX3C equivalents g−1 tissue. Data analysis further confirmed CTXs trophic magnification. This study constitutes the first finding of CTX-like activity in marine organisms in Cuba and in herbivorous fish in the Caribbean. Elucidating the structure–activity relationship and toxicology of CTX from the Caribbean is needed before conclusions may be drawn about risk exposure in Cuba and the wider Caribbean. View Full-Text
Keywords: Caribbean; ciguatoxicity; qPCR; trophic transfer; ish; food safety; food security; science-based management; foodborne disease Caribbean; ciguatoxicity; qPCR; trophic transfer; ish; food safety; food security; science-based management; foodborne disease
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Díaz-Asencio, L.; Clausing, R.J.; Vandersea, M.; Chamero-Lago, D.; Gómez-Batista, M.; Hernández-Albernas, J.I.; Chomérat, N.; Rojas-Abrahantes, G.; Litaker, R.W.; Tester, P.; Diogène, J.; Alonso-Hernández, C.M.; Dechraoui Bottein, M.-Y. Ciguatoxin Occurrence in Food-Web Components of a Cuban Coral Reef Ecosystem: Risk-Assessment Implications. Toxins 2019, 11, 722.

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