Ecotoxicology of marine biotoxins in bivalve shellfish

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Moira McCarthy PhD thesis.pdf(3.57 MB)
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McCarthy, Moira
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University College Cork
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A small proportion of harmful algae produce toxins which are harmful to human health. Strict monitoring programmes are in place within Ireland and the EU to effectively manage risk to human consumers of shellfish species that have accumulated marine biotoxins in their tissues. However, little is known about the impacts of HABs on shellfish health. This study used Solid Phase Adsorption and Toxin Tracking (SPATT) for the passive sampling of algal biotoxins at Lough Hyne Marine Nature Reserve in West Cork, Ireland. Spatial and temporal monitoring of the incidence of a wide range of lipophilic toxins was assessed over a 4-month period. Active sampling accumulated sufficient quantities of toxin for use in subsequent experimentation. In addition to commonly occurring Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins, Dinophysis toxin-1 and Pinnatoxin-G were both detected in the samples. This is the first identification of these latter two toxins in Irish waters. The effects of the DSP toxin okadaic acid (OA) were investigated on three shellfish species: Mytilus edulis, Ruditapes philippinarum and Crassostrea gigas. Histological examination of the gill, mantle and hepatopancreas tissues revealed varying intensity of damage depending both on the tissue type and the species involved. At the cellular level, flow cytometric analysis of the differential cell population distribution was assessed. No change in cell population distribution was observed in Mytilus edulis or Ruditapes philippinarum, however significant changes were observed in Crassostrea gigas granulocytes at the lower levels of toxin exposure. This indicated a chemically-induced response to OA. DNA fragmentation was measured in the haemolymph and hepatopancreas cells post OA-exposure in Mytilus edulis and Crassostrea gigas. A significant increase in DNA fragmentation was observed in both species over time, even at the lowest OA concentrations. DNA fragmentation could be due to genotoxicity of OA and/or to the induction of cell apoptosis.
Harmful algal bloom , Biotoxin , Ecotoxicology
McCarthy, M. 2013. Ecotoxicology of marine biotoxins in bivalve shellfish. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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