The uptake, distribution and elimination of paralytic shellfish toxins in mussels and fish exposed to toxic dinoflagellates

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-91
Journal / PublicationAquatic Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2006


We exposed green-lipped mussels Perna viridis and black sea breams Acanthopagrus schlegeli to toxic dinoflagellates Alexandrium fundyense to evaluate the accumulation, distribution, transformation, and elimination of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) in a controlled environmental condition. The mussels were fed A. fundyense for 7 days followed by 3 weeks of depuration, and the fish were fed toxic clams (pre-exposed to the dinoflagellates) for 5 days followed by 2 weeks of depuration. The toxin content and the compartmental distribution of PSTs were monitored throughout the experiments by high-performance liquid chromatography with post-column fluorescence derivatization (HPLC-FLD). This is the first report to assess the biokinetics of PSTs in marine fish under dietary exposure. The hepatopancreas in the mussels and the viscera in the fish accumulated most of the PSTs. Differential elimination of each toxin was observed in the mussels. The C2 toxins were eliminated rapidly in all organs; except in hepatopancreas, the more potent toxins such as GTX4, were eliminated slower during the depuration period. The relative proportions of various PSTs in the mussels changed over time, suggesting toxin-specific uptake and elimination rates, or biotransformation preferences between toxins. In the fish, the ratio of C1/C2 was 3.0 times (p <0.01) higher when compared to the clam tissues, indicating that conversion from C2 to C1 might have occurred when the toxin was transferred from the clams to the fish. In summary, species differences in uptake, distribution and elimination of PSTs were observed between mussels and fish, and this may influence trophic transfer of algal toxins in marine organisms. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Acanthopagrus schlegeli, Alexandrium fundyense, Paralytic shellfish toxins, Perna viridis