Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 31 Issue 04

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Volume 31, No. 4
Pages 132 - 144

Occurrence of Marine Biotoxins and Shellfish Poisoning Events and Their Causative Organisms in Argentine Marine Waters

Bernd Krock Martha E. FerrarioRut AkselmanNora G. Montoya
Article Abstract

In the Argentine Sea, marine phycotoxins of microalgal origin associated with five shellfish poisoning syndromes have been reported. The most problematic in terms of toxicity and geographic distribution is paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), followed by diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP). In contrast, amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), spiroimine shellfish poisoning (SSP), and azaspiracid shellfish poisoning (AZP) have not been reported to cause human illness or closures of shellfish harvest sites in Argentina to date but pose a potential risk, as associated toxins and producing organisms are present in Southwest Atlantic waters and were detected at subregulatory levels in mollusks. Alexandrium catenella and Gymnodinium catenatum have been identified as producers of the PSP toxins C1/2, gonyautoxins (GTX1-4), saxitoxin (STX), and neosaxitoxin (NEO) in the Argentine Sea. Nine potentially toxigenic species of the diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia have been reported for Argentinean coastal waters: P. australis, P. brasiliana, P. delicatissima, P. fraudulenta, P. multiseries, P. pseudodelicatissima, P. pungens, P. seriata, and P. turgidula, all of which are known to produce the neurotoxin domoic acid that causes ASP. Two genera have been identified as producers of DSP toxins in Argentina: the benthic dinoflagellate Prorocentrum lima and several species of the pelagic dinoflagellate genus Dinophysis: D. acuminata, D. caudata, D. fortii, D. norvegica, and D. tripos. The occurrence of these species in Argentine waters is associated with okadaic acid (OA), dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX-1), pectenotoxin-2 (PTX-2), and pectenotoxin-2 seco acid (PTX-2sa). Historically, yessotoxins (YTXs) were also included in DSP syndrome and all three known YTX-producers have been confirmed in Argentinean waters: Gonyaulax spinifera, Lingulodinium polyedra, and Protoceratium reticulatum, but of these only P. reticulatum could be associated with YTX production to date. Several species of the family Amphidomataceae, which cause AZP, have been reported for Argentina: Amphidoma languida, Azadinium dexteroporum, Az. luciferelloides, Az. poporum, and Az. spinosum. In Argentinean coastal waters, out of these species only Az. poporum has been identified as toxigenic to date, as it produces azaspiracid-2 (AZA-2) and its phosphorylated form. Currently in Argentina, seafood is monitored for the risk of ASP, AZP, DSP, and PSP.


Krock, B., M.E. Ferrario, R. Akselman, and N.G. Montoya. 2018. Occurrence of marine biotoxins and shellfish poisoning events and their causative organisms in Argentine marine waters. Oceanography 31(4):132–144, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2018.403.


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