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Use of high-performance liquid chromatography to investigate the production of paralytic shellfish toxins by Protogonyaulax spp. in culture

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Procedures have been developed for the extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins from Protogonyaulax spp. grown in batch culture. Using these procedures, the toxin content of two isolates of P. tamarensis (NEPCC 183 and 255) and one isolate of P. catenella (NEPCC 355) were examined. Total toxin and individual toxin concentrations were measured for each isolate during the exponential and stationary phases of growth in batch culture. The total toxicity of each isolate as measured by HPLC analysis was found to agree with toxicity as determined by the standard mouse bioassay. Two of the isolates (255 and 355) were found to be toxic and the third (183) was non-toxic. The toxic isolates (255 and 355) both showed higher average total PSP toxin content during the exponential phase (35 and 23 fmol toxin cell-1, respectively) than during the stationary phase (21 and 8 fmol toxin cell-1, respectively). These cultures differed dramatically in their toxin composition. P. tamarensis (255) contained a large proportion of the N(21) sulfo toxins (B1, B2, C1, C2) while P. catenella (355) contained primarily Gonyautoxins 1 through 4. The percent composition of individual toxins was found to be constant throughout the growth cycle for both toxic isolates, even though the total toxin concentration varied. Our results suggest that PSP toxin profiles might be useful as chemotaxonomic indicators.

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Correspondence to R. J. Andersen.

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Communicated by R. S. Carney, Baton Rouge

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Boyer, G.L., Sullivan, J.J., Andersen, R.J. et al. Use of high-performance liquid chromatography to investigate the production of paralytic shellfish toxins by Protogonyaulax spp. in culture. Marine Biology 93, 361–369 (1986).

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  • Batch Culture
  • Exponential Phase
  • Growth Cycle
  • Percent Composition
  • Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning