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Massive Occurrence of the Harmful Benthic Dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata in the Eastern Adriatic Sea

Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Šetalište Ivana Meštrovića 63, 21000 Split, Croatia
Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Urbino, Viale Trieste 296, 61121 Pesaro, Italy
Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare (CoNISMa), Piazzale Flaminio 9, 00196 Roma, Italy
Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Via delle Scienze 91/93, 33100 Udine, Italy
Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Via A. Valerio 6, 34127 Trieste, Italy
Department of Pharmacy, University of Napoli, Federico II, Via D. Montesano 49, 80131 Napoli, Italy
Department of Marine Studies, University of Split, Ruđera Boškovića 37, 21000 Split, Croatia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(5), 300;
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 25 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
PDF [7804 KB, uploaded 25 May 2019]


In September 2015, a massive occurrence of the Ostreopsis species was recorded in central Adriatic Kaštela Bay. In order to taxonomically identify the Ostreopsis species responsible for this event and determine their toxin profile, cells collected in seawater and from benthic macroalgae were analyzed. Conservative taxonomic methods (light microscopy and SEM) and molecular methods (PCR-based assay) allowed the identification of the species Ostreopsis cf. ovata associated with Coolia monotis. The abundance of O. cf. ovata reached 2.9 × 104 cells L−1 in seawater, while on macroalgae, it was estimated to be up to 2.67 × 106 cells g−1 of macroalgae fresh weight and 14.4 × 106 cells g−1 of macroalgae dry weight. An indirect sandwich immunoenzymatic assay (ELISA) and liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) were used to determine the toxin profile. The ELISA assay revealed the presence of 5.6 pg palytoxin (PLTX) equivalents per O. cf. ovata cell. LC-HRMS was used for further characterization of the toxin profile, which showed that there were 6.3 pg of the sum of ovatoxins (OVTXs) and isobaric PLTX per O. cf. ovata cell, with a prevalence of OVTXs (6.2 pg cell−1), while the isobaric PLTX concentration was very low (0.1 pg cell−1). Among OVTXs, the highest concentration was recorded for OVTX-a (3.6 pg cell−1), followed by OVTX-b (1.3 pg cell−1), OVTX-d (1.1 pg cell−1), and OVTX-c (0.2 pg cell−1). View Full-Text
Keywords: Adriatic Sea; Ostreopsis ovata; Coolia monotis; ovatoxin; palytoxin Adriatic Sea; Ostreopsis ovata; Coolia monotis; ovatoxin; palytoxin

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Ninčević Gladan, Ž.; Arapov, J.; Casabianca, S.; Penna, A.; Honsell, G.; Brovedani, V.; Pelin, M.; Tartaglione, L.; Sosa, S.; Dell’Aversano, C.; Tubaro, A.; Žuljević, A.; Grbec, B.; Čavar, M.; Bužančić, M.; Bakrač, A.; Skejić, S. Massive Occurrence of the Harmful Benthic Dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata in the Eastern Adriatic Sea. Toxins 2019, 11, 300.

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