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


Kohli, GS and Murray, SA and Neilan, BA and Rhodes, LL and Harwood, DT and Smith, KF and Meyer, L and Capper, A and Brett, S and Hallegraeff, GM, High abundance of the potentially maitotoxic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus carpenteri in temperate waters of New South Wales, Australia, Harmful Algae, 39 pp. 134-145. ISSN 1568-9883 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.hal.2014.07.007


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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ciguatera, ciguatera fish poisoning, Gambierdiscus, temperate environment, maitotoxin, bloom, pyrosequencing
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:Hallegraeff, GM (Professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff)
ID Code:93411
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:54
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-07-31
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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