Chapter 15 : Seafood Toxins

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This chapter talks about marine biotoxins that can have severe impacts on health and prosperity, but effective management can minimize the risk of such impacts. It also talks about the seafood toxins includes saxitoxins, paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), tetrodotoxin (TTX), puffer fish poisoning, domoic acid (DOM), amnesic shellfish poisoning, brevetoxins, neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP), ciguatoxins, ciguatera, okadaic acid, its derivatives, and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP). The toxins under discussion here are generally low-molecular-weight, nonprotein compounds produced by smaller organisms (generally phytoplankton) and accumulated by larger organisms that eat them. TTX and related compounds differ from the other seafood toxins discussed in the chapter, in that they appear to be endogenous or at least produced by symbionts, rather than accumulated from environmental sources. The toxicity of DOM is in part because of this strong binding and in part because the mechanisms that scavenge glutamate, keeping its concentration low and its stimulation brief, do not act on DOM. Ciguatera toxins appear to have a much stronger affinity than brevetoxins for site 5 on the voltage-activated sodium channel. The best and most comprehensive option is to use liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC/MS) for detection. Most practical analyses for seafood toxins are based on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the compounds tending not to be amenable to gas chromatography. Seafood is generally wholesome but may be contaminated with potent natural toxins which can cause illness and death in consumers. Such risks can be greatly reduced by the implementation of appropriate, sustainable monitoring strategies.

Citation: Hall S. 2010. Seafood Toxins, p 233-247. In Juneja V, Sofos J (ed), Pathogens and Toxins in Foods. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815936.ch15

Key Concept Ranking

High-Performance Liquid Chromatography
Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning
Sodium Channels
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