Tissue distribution of the amnesic shellfish toxin, domoic acid, in Octopus vulgaris from the Portuguese coast
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- Costa, P.R., Rosa, R. & Sampayo, M.A.M. Marine Biology (2004) 144: 971. doi:10.1007/s00227-003-1258-6
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Domoic acid (DA), the amnesic shellfish toxin, is a food-web-transferred algal toxin that has been detected in many marine organisms from copepods to whales. However, cephalopods, which are important members of the food chain, have never been implicated in DA transfer or accumulation. Here, we present data showing relevant values of DA detected in the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) from the Portuguese continental coast. Even though DA is hydrophilic and is not expected to be accumulated in the tissues, DA was always detected in our octopus tissue samples. Tissue distribution of DA revealed that the digestive gland and the branchial hearts are the main organs of DA accumulation. Highly variable DA concentrations, ranging from 1.1 to 166.2 μg DA g−1, were observed in the digestive glands. Low levels of DA were detected in the digestive tract (stomach and intestine) and could be a consequence of high digestion rates or a result of non-exposure to toxic vectors during the sampling period. In fact, octopus prey, such as bivalves, crustaceans and fishes, are known to occasionally work as DA vectors. Consequently, DA uptake into octopus tissues is likely sporadic. Similar low levels were detected in the kidney, gills, systemic heart, posterior salivary glands and mantle, and no DA was found in either the gonads or the ink sac. These data are the necessary first step towards achieving an understanding of the accumulation of phycotoxins in O. vulgaris.