Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Paralytic shellfish toxins, including deoxydecarbamoyl-STX, in wild-caught Tasmanian abalone (Haliotis rubra)

23 August, 2014

Harwood DT, Selwood AI, van Ginkel R, Waugh C, McNabb PS, Munday R, Hay B, Thomas K, Quilliam MA, Malhi N, Dowsett N, McLeod C 2014. Paralytic shellfish toxins, including deoxydecarbamoyl-STX, in wild-caught Tasmanian abalone (Haliotis rubra). Toxicon 90: 213-225.


For the first time wild-caught Tasmanian abalone, Haliotis rubra, have been reported to contain paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs). This observation followed blooms of the toxic dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum. No illnesses were reported, but harvesting restrictions were enforced in commercial areas. Abalone were assayed using HPLC-FLD methodology based on AOAC official method 2005.06. An uncommon congener, deoxydecarbamoyl-STX (doSTX), was observed in addition to regulated PSTs as unassigned chromatographic peaks. A quantitative reference material was prepared from contaminated Tasmanian abalone viscera and ampouled at 54.2 μmol/L. The LD50 of doSTX via intraperitoneal injection was 1069 nmol/kg (95% confidence limits 983-1100 nmol/kg), indicating it is nearly 40 times less toxic than STX. A toxicity equivalence factor of 0.042 was generated using the mouse bioassay. Levels of PSTs varied among individuals from the same site, although the toxin profile remained relatively consistent. In the foot tissue, STX, decarbamoyl-STX and doSTX were identified. On a molar basis doSTX was the dominant congener in both foot and viscera samples. The viscera toxin profile was more complex, with other less toxic PST congeners observed and was similar to mussels from the same site. This finding implicates localised dinoflagellate blooms as the PST source in Tasmanian abalone.