Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 3116–3126 | Cite as

Lipophilic shellfish toxins in Dinophysis caudata picked cells and in shellfish from the East China Sea

  • Aifeng Li
  • Geng Sun
  • Jiangbing Qiu
  • Lin Fan
Research Article


We reported previously that okadaic acid (OA) and dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX1) were responsible for diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) incidents due to consuming cultivated mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) in coastal cities near the East China Sea in May 2011. Pectenotoxin-2 (PTX2) and its seco acids were also present in these mussels. Causative species of microalgae were not identified because detailed information on the location of the contaminated shellfish was not recorded. In order to explore potential causes for these poisoning events, the lipophilic toxin profiles in picked cells of Dinophysis and in shellfish samples collected from two mariculture zones in the East China Sea were analyzed in the present study. Single-cell isolates (100 cells total for each location) of Dinophysis were collected from the aquaculture zones of Gouqi Island (Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province) and Qingchuan Bay (Ningde City, Fujian Province) in July and September 2013, respectively, for lipophilic toxin profiling. Shellfish samples collected over the course of a year from the Gouqi Island aquaculture zone and mussels (M. galloprovincialis) collected four times from the Qingchuan Bay aquaculture zone were tested for lipophilic toxins by LC-MS/MS. The Dinophysis cells isolated from both sampling sites were identified under the light microscope as Dinophysis caudata. Average quota of PTX2, the predominant toxin in D. caudata isolated from the coastal waters of Gouqi Island and Qingchuan Bay, was 0.58 and 2.8 pg/cell, respectively. Only trace amounts of OA and DTX1 were detected in D. caudata. PTX2, PTX2sa, 7-epi-PTX2sa, OA, and/or DTX1 were found in samples of mussels (M. galloprovincialis and Mytilus coruscus) collected in the Gouqi Island aquaculture zone from the end of May to the beginning of July 2013. PTX2, PTX2sa, and 7-epi-PTX2sa were also detected in oyster (Crassostrea gigas) during that period, but almost no OA and DTX1 were present. Gymnodimine (GYM) was detected in almost all mussel (M. coruscus) samples, with the highest levels occurring in winter. Trace amounts of pectenotoxins (PTXs) and OAs were also found in mussels (M. galloprovincialis) collected from Qingchuan Bay. D. caudata is suggested as an important source of PTXs in shellfish cultivated in the East China Sea. This is the first report of toxin profiles for single-cell isolates of Dinophysis in the East China Sea.


Dinophysis caudata Pectenotoxin-2 Okadaic acid Dinophysistoxin-1 Single-cell isolates Shellfish monitoring LC-MS/MS 



This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41276103) and the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, People’s Republic of China (201310141). The authors would like to thank Dr. Gregory Doucette, at NOAA/National Ocean Service/Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research (USA), for reviewing this manuscript. We also would appreciate Mr. Zhaoxin Wang, at the Bureau of Fisheries of Fuding City, and the fisherman Mr. Zhonghai Zhang living in the Gouqi Island, for collecting phytoplankton and shellfish samples.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and Ecology, Ministry of EducationOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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