High abundance of the potentially maitotoxic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus carpenteri in temperate waters of New South Wales, Australia

Kohli, Gurjeet S., Murray, Shauna A., Neilan, Brett A., Rhodes, Lesley L., Harwood, D. Tim, Smith, Kirsty F., Meyer, Lauren, Capper, Angela, Brett, Steve, and Hallegraeff, Gustaaf M. (2014) High abundance of the potentially maitotoxic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus carpenteri in temperate waters of New South Wales, Australia. Harmful Algae, 39. pp. 134-145.

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Abstract

Species of the genus Gambierdiscus are epiphytic dinoflagellates well known from tropical coral reef areas at water temperatures from 24 to 29 °C. Gambierdiscus spp. are able to produce ciguatoxins (CTXs) known to bioaccumulate in fish, and the ingestion of tropical fish that accumulated CTXs and possibly also maitotoxins (MTXs) can cause ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. In Australia, ciguatera poisonings have been reported in tropical parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Here, we report for the first time the seasonal abundance (April–May 2012/13) of Gambierdiscus spp. (up to 6565–8255 cells g^-1 wet weight algae) from Merimbula and Wagonga Inlets in temperate southern New South Wales, Australia (37° S) at water temperatures of 16.5–17 °C. These are popular shellfish aquaculture and recreational fisheries areas with no reports of ciguatera poisoning. Sequencing of a region of the 28S rRNA gene led to the conclusive identification of Gambierdiscus carpenteri. The cells differed however from the Belize type description, including the absence of a thecal groove, dorsal rostrum and variable hatchet- to rectangular-shaped 2' plate, and were morphologically more similar to Gambierdiscus toxicus. To study the dinoflagellate community structure in detail, a pyrosequencing approach based on the 18S rRNA gene was applied, which confirmed the presence of a single Gambierdiscus species only. Neither CTXs nor MTXs were detected in natural bloom material by LC–MS/MS; however, the extracts were found to be toxic via mouse-bioassay, with symptoms suggestive of poisoning by MTX-like compounds. Understanding the abundance of Gambierdiscus populations in areas with no apparent human health impacts is important towards defining the alternate conditions where sparse populations can create ciguatera problems.

Item ID: 37155
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-1470
Keywords: ciguatera fish poisoning CFP; dinoflagellate toxin; taxonomy; sequencing
Funders: Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), Australian Research Council (ARC), Linnean Society of New South Wales (LS-NSW)
Projects and Grants: ABRS RFL21034, ARC DP130102859, ARC FT120100704
Date Deposited: 20 May 2015 02:47
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060405 Gene Expression (incl Microarray and other genome-wide approaches) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 25%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses) @ 25%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920406 Food Safety @ 10%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961006 Natural Hazards in Marine Environments @ 40%
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