AB 13:193-201 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00362

Toxin profile change in vegetative cells and pellicle cysts of Alexandrium fundyense after gut passage in the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica

Barry C. Smith1,*, Agneta Persson1,3, Erik Selander2,4, Gary H. Wikfors1, Jennifer Alix1

1Milford Laboratory, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Milford, Connecticut 06460, USA
2Sven Lovén Center for Marine Research, Göteborg University, Kristineberg 566, 450 34 Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
3Present address: Department of Marine Ecology, Göteborg University, Box 461, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
4Present address: DTU Aqua, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Castle, Jaegersborg Alle 1, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark

ABSTRACT: Vegetative cells and pellicle cysts of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense Balech were fed to the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica Gmelin under controlled conditions. Para­lytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) were measured in vegetative cells and pellicle cysts prior to feeding and directly after passage through the oyster alimentary canal and defecation as intact cells. Oysters fed with vegetative cells and those fed with pellicle cysts accumulated toxins. One experimental treatment tested for direct uptake of toxins from the water (oysters and A. fundyense cells were separated by a screen); PSTs were not accumulated from the water by the oysters. There were no significant changes in total, per-cell toxicity after passage through the oyster alimentary canal, suggesting limited transfer of toxins from intact cells to the oysters. However, there were statistically significant changes in the toxin composition of cells following gut passage. Vegetative cells and pellicle cysts from feces had increased amounts of saxitoxin (STX) and decreased amounts of gonyautoxin 4 (GTX4) per cell, compared to amounts prior to gut passage. Following gut passage, pellicle cysts showed better survival in the feces than vegetative cells, which is consistent with the view of pellicle-cyst formation as a ­successful survival strategy against adverse conditions.


KEY WORDS: Alexandrium fundyense · Crassostrea virginica · Dinoflagellate · Toxin · PST · Pellicle cyst


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Cite this article as: Smith BC, Persson A, Selander E, Wikfors GH, Alix J (2011) Toxin profile change in vegetative cells and pellicle cysts of Alexandrium fundyense after gut passage in the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Aquat Biol 13:193-201. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00362

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