Algal blooms of Alexandrium spp. and Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxicity events in mussels farmed in Sicily
Marine biotoxins can accumulate in filter-feeders bivalve molluscs, that may represent a source of potential health problems being vectors of toxins, that are transferred to humans through their consumption. Harmful Algal Blooms impact on aquaculture may give also economic losses due to temporary closures of contaminated shellfish harvest and marketing. The presence of toxic algae for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), with recurrent toxic blooms of dinoflagellates, such as several Alexandrium species, been known since 2000 in the waters of an Ionian bay of Sicily, the Syracuse harbour, where shellfish farms are located. Our previous works reported in this area the positivity for PSP toxin in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) with saxitoxin concentrations above the limit of the law and the simultaneous presence of toxic species of the genus Alexandrium in the waters. This work reports new recent episodes of algal blooms of Alexandrium minutum in the waters of the Syracuse harbour and PSP toxin contamination in farmed mussels, with values beyond the limits established by law, with the consequent immediate closure of the production area. PSP toxicity was detected with the MBA (Mouse Bioassay) with the confirm carried out with Lawrence method to quantify the total saxitoxin equivalents and characterize the toxic profile. Regular application of the implemented health plan is very important in order to prevent any risk and protect consumer health.
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