Morphology, phylogeny and azaspiracid profile of Azadinium poporum (Dinophyceae) from the China Sea

Urban.Tillmann [ at ]


Azadinium poporum is a small dinoflagellate from the family Amphidomataceae which is known for the production potential of azaspiracid toxins. A. poporum has been recorded from European and Korean waters. Here we present the first report of its occurrence along the coast of China. Morphology of Chinese A. poporum is similar to those from Europe and Korea. Several stalked pyrenoids surrounded by a starch sheath were revealed with light microscopy and confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. Among 25 strains from the China Sea we identified two distinct ribotypes (referred to as ribotypes B and C). ITS sequences of strains within the same ribotype are identical, whereas ribotype B and C differ from each other at 11 positions (98.3% similarity). A. poporum ribotypes B and C type differ from European strains (referred to as ribotype A) at 16 and 15 positions (97.5% and 97.7% similarity). The ITS region pairwise distance within A. poporum ranged from 0.017 to 0.022. Among all three ribotypes, no hemicompensatory based changes were found within helix III of ITS indicating that they are conspecific. Azaspiracid profiles were analyzed for six strains and turned out to be unexpectedly diverse. Whereas no AZAs could be detected for one strain, another strain was found to contain a m/z 348 fragment type AZA previously found in a Korean Isolate and traces of two other unknown AZAs of higher masses. A third strain produced a novel AZA with a molecular mass of 871 Da. Three strains were found to contain considerable amounts of toxic AZA-2 as the sole AZA, a finding that might elegantly explain the detection of AZA-2 in sponges in the Sea of Japan and which underline the risk potential of A. poporum blooms with subsequent shellfish intoxication episodes for the Asian Pacific.

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Gu, H. , Luo, Z. , Krock, B. , Witt, M. and Tillmann, U. (2013): Morphology, phylogeny and azaspiracid profile of Azadinium poporum (Dinophyceae) from the China Sea , Harmful Algae, 21-22 , pp. 64-75 .

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