Toxin profile of Gymnodinium catenatum (Dinophyceae) from the Portuguese coast, as determined by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry

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© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI. The marine dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum has been associated with paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) outbreaks in Portuguese waters for many years. PSP syndrome is caused by consumption of seafood contaminated with paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), a suite of potent neurotoxins. Gymnodinium catenatum was frequently reported along the Portuguese coast throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, but was absent between 1995 and 2005. Since this time, G. catenatum blooms have been recurrent, causing contamination of fishery resources along the Atlantic coast of Portugal. The aim of this study was to evaluate the toxin profile of G. catenatum isolated from the Portuguese coast before and after the 10-year hiatus to determine changes and potential impacts for the region. Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS/MS) was utilized to determine the presence of any known and emerging PSTs in sample extracts. Several PST derivatives were identified, including the N-sulfocarbamoyl analogues (C1-4), gonyautoxin 5 (GTX5), gonyautoxin 6 (GTX6), and decarbamoyl derivatives, decarbamoyl saxitoxin (dcSTX), decarbamoyl neosaxitoxin (dcNeo) and decarbamoyl gonyautoxin 3 (dcGTX3). In addition, three known hydroxy benzoate derivatives, G. catenatum toxin 1 (GC1), GC2 and GC3, were confirmed in cultured and wild strains of G. catenatum. Moreover, two presumed N-hydroxylated analogues of GC2 and GC3, designated GC5 and GC6, are reported. This work contributes to our understanding of the toxigenicity of G. catenatum in the coastal waters of Portugal and provides valuable information on emerging PST classes that may be relevant for routine monitoring programs tasked with the prevention and control of marine toxins in fish and shellfish.




Costa, P. R., Robertson, A., & Quilliam, M. A. (2015). Toxin profile of Gymnodinium catenatum (Dinophyceae) from the Portuguese coast, as determined by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Marine Drugs, 13(4), 2046–2062.

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