Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Toxic dinoflagellates (Dinophyceae) from Rarotonga, Cook Islands

1 January, 2010

Rhodes LL, Smith KF, Munday R, Selwood AI, McNabb PS, Holland PT, Bottein M 2010. Toxic dinoflagellates (Dinophyceae) from Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Toxicon 56(5): 751-758.


Dinoflagellate species isolated from the green calcareous seaweed, Halimeda sp. J.V. Lamouroux, growing in Rarotongan lagoons, included Gambierdiscus australes Faust & Chinain, Coolia monotis Meunier, Amphidinium carterae Hulburth, Prorocentrum lima (Ehrenberg) Dodge, P. cf. maculosum Faust and species in the genus Ostreopsis Schmidt. Isolates were identified to species level by scanning electron microscopy and/or DNA sequence analysis. Culture extracts of G. australes isolate CAWD149 gave a response of 0.04 pg P-CTX-1 equiv. per cell by an N2A cytotoxicity assay (equivalent to ca 0.4 pg CTX-3C cell(-1)). However, ciguatoxins were not detected by LC-MS/MS. Partitioned fractions of the cell extracts potentially containing maitotoxin were found to be very toxic to mice after intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection. A. carterae was also of interest as extracts of mass cultures caused respiratory paralysis in mice at high doses, both by i.p. injection and by oral administration. The Rarotongan isolate fell into a different clade to New Zealand A. carterae isolates, based on DNA sequence analysis, and also had a different toxin profile. As A. carterae co-occurred with G. australes, it may contribute to human poisonings attributed to CTX and warrants further investigation. A crude extract of C. monotis was of low toxicity to mice by i.p. injection, and an extract of Ostreopsis sp. was negative in the palytoxin haemolysis neutralisation assay.

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