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Toxins 2019, 11(4), 188;

Paralytic Shellfish Toxins in Surf Clams Mesodesma donacium during a Large Bloom of Alexandrium catenella Dinoflagellates Associated to an Intense Shellfish Mass Mortality

Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Departamento de Acuicultura, Universidad Católica del Norte, Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo 1781421, Chile
Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Algas (CIDTA), Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo, Chile
Centro i∼mar & CeBiB, Universidad de Los Lagos, Casilla 557, Puerto Montt 5480000, Chile
Laboratorio de Biotecnología Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad San Sebastián, Lago Panguipulli 1390, Puerto Montt 5501842, Chile
Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas Aplicadas (CIBA), Diego de Almagro 1013, Puerto Montt 5507964, Chile
Doctorado en Acuicultura, Programa Cooperativo Universidad de Chile, Universidad Católica del Norte, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Coquimbo 17811421, Chile
Laboratorio Salud Pública, Seremi de Salud Región de Los Lagos, Crucero 1915, Puerto Montt 5505081, Chile
Centro de Investigacións Mariñas (Xunta de Galicia), Apto. 13, 36620 Vilanova de Arousa, Pontevedra, Spain
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biotoxins and Seafood Poisoning)
PDF [4746 KB, uploaded 29 March 2019]


In late February 2016, a harmful algal bloom (HAB) of Alexandrium catenella was detected in southern Chiloé, leading to the banning of shellfish harvesting in an extended geographical area (~500 km). On April 24, 2016, this bloom produced a massive beaching (an accumulation on the beach surface of dead or impaired organisms which were drifted ashore) of surf clams Mesodesma donacium in Cucao Bay, Chiloé. To determine the effect of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in M. donacium, samples were taken from Cucao during the third massive beaching detected on May 3, 2016. Whole tissue toxicity evidence a high interindividual variability with values which ranged from 1008 to 8763 μg STX eq 100 g−1 and with a toxin profile dominated by GTX3, GTX1, GTX2, GTX4, and neoSTX. Individuals were dissected into digestive gland (DG), foot (FT), adductor muscle (MU), and other body fractions (OBF), and histopathological and toxin analyses were carried out on the obtained fractions. Some pathological conditions were observed in gill and digestive gland of 40–50% of the individuals that correspond to hemocyte aggregation and haemocytic infiltration, respectively. The most toxic tissue was DG (2221 μg STX eq 100 g−1), followed by OBF (710 μg STX eq 100 g−1), FT (297 μg STX eq 100 g−1), and MU (314 μg STX eq 100 g−1). The observed surf clam mortality seems to have been mainly due to the desiccation caused by the incapability of the clams to burrow. Considering the available information of the monitoring program and taking into account that this episode was the first detected along the open coast of the Pacific Ocean in southern Chiloé, it is very likely that the M. donacium population from Cucao Bay has not had a recurrent exposition to A. catenella and, consequently, that it has not been subjected to high selective pressure for PSP resistance. However, more research is needed to determine the effects of PSP toxins on behavioral and physiological responses, nerve sensitivity, and genetic/molecular basis for the resistance or sensitivity of M. donacium. View Full-Text
Keywords: Alexandrium catenella; PSP outbreak; Mesodesma donacium; mass mortality; southern Chile Alexandrium catenella; PSP outbreak; Mesodesma donacium; mass mortality; southern Chile

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Álvarez, G.; Díaz, P.A.; Godoy, M.; Araya, M.; Ganuza, I.; Pino, R.; Álvarez, F.; Rengel, J.; Hernández, C.; Uribe, E.; Blanco, J. Paralytic Shellfish Toxins in Surf Clams Mesodesma donacium during a Large Bloom of Alexandrium catenella Dinoflagellates Associated to an Intense Shellfish Mass Mortality. Toxins 2019, 11, 188.

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