Research to support the development of a monitoring programme for new or emerging marine biotoxins in shellfish in UK waters
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Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Agriculture Science (CEFAS) Weymouth
The aim of this project was to critically review and assess current available evidence, both published and unpublished, on emerging shellfish biotoxins and testing regimes in different countries worldwide to support the development of monitoring programme for emerging marine biotoxins in shellfish in UK waters.
The review provided a comprehensive risk assessment on new emerging toxins reported worldwide and identified and prioritised the potential risks for in the UK.
From the wide range of new and emerging marine toxins and toxin-producing phytoplankton species the following were identified as either already present or as having potential to establish in the UK waters:
- Azaspiracid (AZA)-producing algae Azadiunium spp, which was found in the UK waters and new AZA-toxin analogues;
- Novel analogues of the Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins, most notably PSP toxins originating from algae Gymnodinium catenatum; Alexandrium catenella and Gymnodinium catenatum which have colonised the Mediterranean;
- Phytoplankton from Karenia genera, which have been found in the UK waters, and brevetoxins, to date confined to the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast of the USA and New Zealand and not reported in Europe;
- Cyclic imines, which have been detected in the UK, and Vulcanodinium rugosum, to date reported in Norway;
- Ostreopsis and palytoxins, currently found in southern European waters, such as the Mediterranean, but not reported to date from colder regions.
Additionally, the review has highlighted a number of areas in which further work is required before an efficient monitoring for emerging toxins could be implemented:
- Development and validation of molecular method for detection and enumeration of all azaspiracid-producing organisms;
- Development of amethodology for monitoring benthic (sea bottom-dwelling) phytoplankton species;
- Production of the relevant certified calibration standards for Gymnodinium catenatum toxins, brevetoxins, azaspiracid analogues and others;
- Method validation for quantitative detection of the novel toxins and analogues.
The report also outlines the need for gathering further data on cyclic imines on European level, as the recent EFSA opinion seriously lacked data on both occurrence and toxicity of these compounds.
Project Code: FS513005