Temperature effects on kinetics of paralytic shellfish toxin elimination in Atlantic surfclams,Spisula solidissima

Allan.Cembella [ at ] awi.de


Surfclams,Spisula solidissima, pose a particular health risk for human consumption as they are characterized by accumulation of extremely high levels of toxins associated with paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), slow toxin elimination and an extremely high post-ingestive capacity for toxin bioconversion. Surfclam populations experience a wide range of temperatures along the NW Atlantic continental shelf, and are undergoing range contraction that has been attributed to global warming. In this study the influence of temperature (5, 12 and 21 C) on detoxification kinetics of individual PSP toxins in two tissue compartments of juvenile surfclams (∼35 mm shell length) was determined under controlled laboratory conditions, over prolonged (2.4 months) depuration. Clams were toxified with a representative regional Gulf of Maine isolate of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense of known toxin profile, allowing tracking of changes in toxin composition and calculated toxicity in surfclam tissues. The visceral mass detoxified at all temperatures, although toxin loss rate increased with increasing temperature. In contrast, total toxin content and calculated toxicities in other tissues remained constant or even increased during depuration, suggesting a physiological or biochemical toxin-retention mechanism in this tissue pool and temperature-independent detoxification. In vivo toxin compositional changes in surfclam tissues found in this study provide evidence of specific toxin conversion pathways,involving both reductive and decarbamoylation pathways. We conclude that such toxin biotransformations, especially in non-visceral tissues, may introduce a discrepancy in describing kinetics of total toxicity (in saxitoxin equivalents [STXeq]) of S. solidissima over prolonged detoxification. Nevertheless, use of total toxicity values generated by routine regulatory monitoring based upon mouse bioassays or calculated from chemical analytical determination of molar toxin concentrations is adequate for first-order modeling of toxin kinetics in this species. Furthermore, the differential detoxification response of viscera and other tissues in relation to temperature emphasizes the need for two-compartment modeling to describe the fate of PSP toxins in this species. Finally, key parameters were identified that may prove useful in hindcasting the timing of toxic blooms or new toxin input in deep offshore waters where routine monitoring of toxic phytoplankton is impractical.

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DOI 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.014

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Bricelj, V. M. , Cembella, A. D. and Laby, D. (2013): Temperature effects on kinetics of paralytic shellfish toxin elimination in Atlantic surfclams,Spisula solidissima , Deep-Sea Research II . doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.014

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