Special Issue "Paralytic Shellfish Toxins: Analysis, New Analogs, Toxicology, Vectors, and Impacts in Wildlife"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Begoña Ben-Gigirey
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Guest Editor
Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Subida a Radio Faro, 50, 36390 Vigo, Spain
Interests: marine biotoxin analysis; paralytic shellfish toxins; amnesic shellfish toxins; lipophillic toxins; emerging toxins; harmful algal blooms; non-traditional vectors; impacts in seabirds; toxicology; molecular detection tools
Dr. Rosa Isabel Figueroa
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Group VGOHAB (noxious and toxic microalgae), Spanish Institute of Oceanography, Subida a Radio Faro, 50, 36390 Vigo, Spain
Interests: cell cycle; dinoflagellates; flow cytometry; life cycles; meiosis; microparasites; PSP regulation; resting cysts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) are a group of natural neurotoxic alkaloids that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). PSP is characterized by neurological symptoms that vary from mild to severe and can even result in death. PSTs bioaccumulate in certain marine biota, are transferred throughout aquatic food webs, and can be vectored to humans. Therefore, it is essential to regularly monitor the production of phytoplankton and shellfish PST content in harvesting areas. PSTs can also seriously impact marine ecosystems, causing strandings and deaths in seabirds, seals, whales, etc. For years, fishery closures and PSP in humans were mainly attributed to filter-feeders (i.e., bivalve mollusks), although certain countries monitor other seafood as well. Recent studies report more frequent findings of PSTs in additional invertebrate vectors and fish. Therefore, it is essential to gather more data for the purpose of risk assessment and evaluation and to review monitoring strategies accordingly. Monitoring programs rely on intensive sampling and analysis that require rapid, sensitive, accurate, and precise testing methods. The accuracy of these methods is, among other factors, dependent on the availability of reference materials (standards and tissues), information on the congener’s toxicity, and the identification of new analogues.

This Special Issue is open to original research articles and reviews dealing with PSTs and the following subjects:

- new analytical methods (substantial modifications of internationally validated/well-established methods or their application to new matrixes);

- novel tools for the molecular detection of PST production in marine environmental samples;

- development of new reference materials;

- identification and characterization of new congeners;

- toxicological studies; 

- the impact of PSTs on wildlife and new reports in non-traditional vectors;

- novel detection tools of PSTs production in marine environmental samples; and

- biosynthetic pathways and gene regulation of PSTs.

Dr. Begoña Ben-Gigirey
Dr. Rosa Isabel Figueroa
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 2000 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.


  • paralytic shellfish toxins
  • analytical methods
  • reference materials
  • molecular detection tools
  • new congeners
  • new vectors
  • impacts in wildlife
  • toxicology

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessCommunication
First Report of Paralytic Shellfish Toxins in Marine Invertebrates and Fish in Spain
Toxins 2020, 12(11), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12110723 - 19 Nov 2020
A paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) episode developed in summer 2018 in the Rías Baixas (Galicia, NW Spain). The outbreak was associated with an unprecedentedly intense and long-lasting harmful algal bloom (HAB) (~one month) caused by the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum. Paralytic shellfish toxins [...] Read more.
A paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) episode developed in summer 2018 in the Rías Baixas (Galicia, NW Spain). The outbreak was associated with an unprecedentedly intense and long-lasting harmful algal bloom (HAB) (~one month) caused by the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum. Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) were analyzed in extracts of 45 A. minutum strains isolated from the bloom by high-performance liquid chromatography with post-column oxidation and fluorescence detection (HPLC-PCOX-FLD). PSTs were also evaluated in tissues from marine fauna (invertebrates and fish) collected during the episode and in dolphin samples. The analysis of 45 A. minutum strains revealed a toxic profile including GTX1, GTX2, GTX3 and GTX4 toxins. With regard to the marine fauna samples, the highest PSTs levels were quantified in bivalve mollusks, but the toxins were also found in mullets, mackerels, starfish, squids and ascidians. This study reveals the potential accumulation of PSTs in marine invertebrates other than shellfish that could act as vectors in the trophic chain or pose a risk for human consumption. To our knowledge, this is the first time that PSTs are reported in ascidians and starfish from Spain. Moreover, it is the first time that evidence of PSTs in squids is described in Europe. Full article
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