Pennate diatom Nitzschia pungens as the primary source of Domoic acid, a toxin in shellfish from eastern Prince Edward Island, Canada

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1139/f89-156
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TypeArticle
Journal titleCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
ISSN0706-652X
1205-7533
Volume46
Issue7
Pages12031215
AbstractAn outbreak of food poisoning in Canada during autumn 1987 was traced to cultured blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) from the Cardigan Bay region of eastern Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.). The toxin, identified as domoic acid, had not previously been found in any shellfish and this outbreak represents the first known occurrence of human poisoning by this neurotoxin. A plankton bloom at the time of the outbreak consisted almost entirely of the pennate diatom, Nitzschia pungens f. multiseries, and a positive correlation was found between the number of N. pungens cells and the concentration of domoic acid in the plankton. Nitzschia pungens f. multiseries isolated from Cardigan Bay produced domoic acid in culture at levels (1 to 20 pg∙cell−1) comparable with values estimated for N. pungens in the plankton samples. Isolates of several Cardigan Bay phytoplankton, including the closely related species Nitzschia seriata, failed to produce domoic acid. Other Nitzschia spp. and two Amphora coffeaeformis isolates also failed to produce domoic acid. We conclude that N. pungens was the major source of the domoic acid in toxic mussels in eastern P.E.I. The recurrence, in November 1988, of a monospecific bloom of N. pungens and the presence of domoic acid in plankton and mussels reinforced this conclusion.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Institute for Marine Biosciences; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number23000889
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Record identifiercfa7c8b7-5c7c-400b-a976-98aa600eea9d
Record created2016-11-07
Record modified2016-11-07
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