AB 6:201-212 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00121

Mechanisms contributing to low domoic acid uptake by oysters feeding on Pseudo-nitzschia cells. I. Filtration and pseudofeces production

Luiz L. Mafra Jr.1,2,*, V. Monica Bricelj3, Christine Ouellette1, Claude Léger4, Stephen S. Bates4

1Institute for Marine Biosciences, National Research Council, 1411 Oxford St., Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3Z1, Canada
2Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada
3Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, 93 Lipman Dr., New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA
4Gulf Fisheries Centre, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, PO Box 5030, Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 9B6, Canada

ABSTRACT: Bivalve molluscs feeding on toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia spp. are the main vector of domoic acid (DA) to humans. Although different oyster species rarely exceed the internationally adopted regulatory level for shellfish harvesting closures (20 µg g–1), these are often applied to all bivalve species in an affected area. This study examines the influence of diet composition and Pseudo-nitzschia multiseries cell size, density and toxicity on oyster feeding rates to determine potential pre-ingestive mechanisms that may lead to low DA accumulation in the oysters Crassostrea virginica. Clearance rate (CR) and pseudofeces production of juvenile oysters were quantified under varying laboratory conditions representative of natural Pseudo-nitzschia blooms. Oysters filtered increasing amounts of P. multiseries cells as cell density increased, but ingestion was limited by pseudofeces production at concentrations >10400 cells ml–1 (ca. 6 mg dry weight l–1). Oysters significantly reduced their CR when fed both toxic and non-toxic P. multiseries clones in unialgal suspensions compared to Isochrysis galbana, and this rapid grazing inhibition was not related to growth stage, cell size, or exposure time. When offered mixed suspensions containing equivalent cellular volumes of the 2 species, however, relatively high CR was restored. Therefore, we suggest that DA intake by oysters from mono-specific Pseudo-nitzschia blooms would be limited by a persistently reduced CR and rejection of cells in pseudofeces. When an alternative, good source of food is present in a mixed phytoplankton assemblage with P. multiseries, no CR inhibition is expected and DA intake will be regulated by pre-ingestive particle selection on the feeding organs, as demonstrated in Mafra et al. (2009, in this Theme Section)


KEY WORDS: Pseudo-nitzschia multiseries · Domoic acid · Oyster · Crassostrea virginica · Feeding · Filtration · Pseudofeces


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Cite this article as: Mafra Jr LL, Bricelj VM, Ouellette C, Léger C, Bates SS (2009) Mechanisms contributing to low domoic acid uptake by oysters feeding on Pseudo-nitzschia cells. I. Filtration and pseudofeces production. Aquat Biol 6:201-212. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00121

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