Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 491–500 | Cite as

Palytoxins: A still haunting Hawaiian curse

  • Patrizia Ciminiello
  • Carmela Dell’Aversano
  • Ernesto Fattorusso
  • Martino ForinoEmail author


Palytoxins are a class of extremely potent non-proteic marine biotoxins, whose main biological target is the Na+/K+-ATPase. Since its isolation in 1971 from samples of Hawaiian Palythoa spp., palytoxin has drawn scientists’ attention from across the world because of its high toxicity, intriguing chemical structural architecture, and involvement in fascinating ancient Hawaiian folklore. Palytoxins have recently spread also to more temperate areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea causing severe human intoxications. Over the past years our scientific work has brought to light the occurrence of new palytoxin analogs by extensive NMR investigation and a new liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method set up following the Mediterranean toxic outbreaks.


Palytoxin Marine biotoxins Palythoa spp. 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrizia Ciminiello
    • 1
  • Carmela Dell’Aversano
    • 1
  • Ernesto Fattorusso
    • 1
  • Martino Forino
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Chimica delle Sostanze NaturaliUniversità degli Studi di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly

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