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First Evidence of Okadaic Acid in Mytilus galloprovincialis Mussels, Collected in a Mediterranean Lagoon, Tunisia


Evidence of the presence of okadaic acid (OA) and its monthly fluctuations are reported for the first time in Mytilus galloprovincialis samples collected from June 2005 to May 2006 in the Bizerte Lagoon. All of the samples with the exception of those taken in August 2005 were found to be contaminated. The level of OA in mussels exceeded the regulatory limit of DSP toxins (16 μg OA/100 g mussel meat) within the European Union (2002) in only two cases: in January and February, 2006 with 31.85 ± 3.06, and 18.86 ± 1.88 μg OA/100 g mussel meat respectively. During the investigative period, potentially toxic dinoflagellates were observed. The results reported here, although based on limited sampling, demonstrate for the first time the existence of a risk to public health from diarrheic shellfish poisoning in cultivated bivalve mollusc in Tunisia.

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We thank Audrey Solgadi (IFR141, SAMM service, University Paris-Sud 11, UFR Pharmacy) for LC/MS analysis. We are grateful to the critical comments of the referees and the help of Mrs S. Ghouti (University of Paris-Sud 11, UFR Pharmacy, the Language Department,) for critical reading of the manuscript, and to Mr. Nathanael Massey for final reading and editing. This study was supported by a fellowship given to Imène Kacem by the Ministry of higher education and scientific research, Tunisia.

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Correspondence to Imène Kacem.

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Kacem, I., Hajjem, B. & Bouaïcha, N. First Evidence of Okadaic Acid in Mytilus galloprovincialis Mussels, Collected in a Mediterranean Lagoon, Tunisia. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 82, 660–664 (2009).

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  • DSP
  • Mytilus galloprovincialis
  • Okadaic acid
  • Bizerte Lagoon
  • Tunisia