Molecular phylogeny and toxin profiles of Alexandrium tamarense (Lebour) Balech (Dinophyceae) from the west coast of Greenland

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Baggesen, C. , Moestrup, Ø. , Daubjerg, N. , Krock, B. , Cembella, A. and Madsen, S. (2012): Molecular phylogeny and toxin profiles of Alexandrium tamarense (Lebour) Balech (Dinophyceae) from the west coast of Greenland , Harmful Algae, 19 , pp. 108-116 . doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2012.06.005
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Detection of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in scallops from the west coast of Greenland exceeding the 800 μg toxin/kg shellfish limit led to an investigation with the aim of finding the responsible organism(s). Three strains of Alexandrium Halim were established from single cell isolations. Morphological identification of the strains and determination of their position within the genus by LSU rDNA sequences was carried out. Light microscopy revealed that the three strains was of the Alexandrium tamarense morphotype, and bayesian and neighbor-joining analyses of the LSU rDNA sequences placed them within Group I of the A. tamarense species complex. The toxicity and toxin profiles of the strains were measured by liquid chromatography fluorescence detection (LC-FD) and their identity was confirmed by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). The three strains all turned out to be toxic and all produced large proportions (>60% total mol) of gonyautoxins 1 and 4 (GTX1/GTX4). This is the first record of saxitoxin producers from western Greenland. The toxin profiles were atypical for A. tamarense in their absence of N-sulfocarbanoyl C1/C2 or B1/B2 toxins. Rather the high molar percentage of GTX1/GTX4, the lesser amounts of only carbamoyl toxins and the absence of decarbamoyl derivatives are more characteristic features of A. minutum strains. This may indicate that the genetically determined toxin profiles in Alexandrium species are more complex than previously appreciated.

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