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Ichthyotoxicity of Chattonella marina (Raphidophyceae) to damselfish (Acanthochromis polycanthus): the synergistic role of reactive oxygen species and free fatty acids


Marshall, JA and Nichols, PD and Hamilton, B and Lewis, RJ and Hallegraeff, GM, Ichthyotoxicity of Chattonella marina (Raphidophyceae) to damselfish (Acanthochromis polycanthus): the synergistic role of reactive oxygen species and free fatty acids, Harmful Algae, 2, (4) pp. 273-281. ISSN 1568-9883 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/S1568-9883(03)00046-5


This investigation aimed to elucidate the relative roles of putative brevetoxins, reactive oxygen species and free fatty acids as the toxic principle of the raphidophyte Chattonella marina, using damselfish as the bioassay. Our investigations on Australian C. marina demonstrated an absence or only very low concentrations of brevetoxin-like compounds by radio-receptor binding assay and liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy techniques. Chattonella is unique in its ability to produce levels of reactive oxygen species 100 times higher than most other algal species. However, high levels of superoxide on their own were found not to cause fish mortalities. Lipid analysis revealed this raphidophyte to contain high concentrations of the polyunsaturated fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 18-23% of fatty acids), which has demonstrated toxic properties to marine organisms. Using damselfish as a model organism, we demonstrated that the free fatty acid (FFA) form of EPA produced a mortality and fish behavioural response similar to fish exposed to C. marina cells. This effect was not apparent when fish were exposed to other lipid fractions including a triglyceride containing fish oil, docosahexaenoate-enriched ethyl ester, or pure brevetoxin standards. The presence of superoxide together with low concentrations of EPA accelerated fish mortality rate threefold. We conclude that the enhancement of ichthyotoxicity of EPA in the presence of superoxide can account for the high C. marina fish killing potential. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Phycology (incl. marine grasses)
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Marshall, JA (Dr Judith Marshall)
UTAS Author:Hallegraeff, GM (Professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff)
ID Code:27317
Year Published:2003
Web of Science® Times Cited:129
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2003-08-01
Last Modified:2007-11-20

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