Home > Explore Data & Reports > Evaluation of Rapid, Early Warning Approaches to Track Shellfish Toxins Associated with Dinophysis and Alexandrium Blooms


Hattenrath-Lehmann, T.K., M.W. Lusty, R.B. Wallace, B. Haynes, Z.H. Wang, M. Broadwater, J.R. Deeds, S.L. Morton, W. Hastback, L. Porter, K. Chytalo, and C.J. Gobler. 2018. Evaluation of Rapid, Early Warning Approaches to Track Shellfish Toxins Associated with Dinophysis and Alexandrium Blooms. Marine Drugs, 16(1):28. doi:10.3390/md16010028

Data/Report Type:

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Marine biotoxin-contaminated seafood has caused thousands of poisonings worldwide this century. Given these threats, there is an increasing need for improved technologies that can be easily integrated into coastal monitoring programs. This study evaluates approaches for monitoring toxins associated with recurrent toxin-producing Alexandrium and Dinophysis blooms on Long Island, NY, USA, which cause paralytic and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (PSP and DSP), respectively. Within contrasting locations, the dynamics of pelagic Alexandrium and Dinophysis cell densities, toxins in plankton, and toxins in deployed blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) were compared with passive solid-phase adsorption toxin tracking (SPATT) samplers filled with two types of resin, HP20 and XAD-2. Multiple species of wild shellfish were also collected during Dinophysis blooms and used to compare toxin content using two different extraction techniques (single dispersive and double exhaustive) and two different toxin analysis assays (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and the protein phosphatase inhibition assay (PP2A)) for the measurement of DSP toxins. DSP toxins measured in the HP20 resin were significantly correlated (R2 = 0.7–0.9, p < 0.001) with total DSP toxins in shellfish, but were detected more than three weeks prior to detection in deployed mussels. Both resins adsorbed measurable levels of PSP toxins, but neither quantitatively tracked Alexandrium cell densities, toxicity in plankton or toxins in shellfish. DSP extraction and toxin analysis methods did not differ significantly (p > 0.05), were highly correlated (R2 = 0.98–0.99; p < 0.001) and provided complete recovery of DSP toxins from standard reference materials. Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) and ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) were found to accumulate DSP toxins above federal and international standards (160 ng g−1) during Dinophysis blooms while Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and soft shell clams (Mya arenaria) did not. This study demonstrated that SPATT samplers using HP20 resin coupled with PP2A technology could be used to provide early warning of DSP, but not PSP, events for shellfish management.

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