Alexandrium tamarense/catenella Blooms in the Southwestern Atlantic: Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Production and Its Trophic Transference

  • Nora G. MontoyaEmail author
  • Mario O. Carignan
  • José I. Carreto


Some species of the dinoflagellate genus Alexandrium (Halim) Balech produce potent neurotoxins called saxitoxins (STXs), which can be accumulated in several invertebrates whose ingestion can cause the human intoxication named paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Many of these STXs are transferred through the food chain and thus can also affect a variety of wildlife. The species A. tamarense/catenella were mainly responsible for PSP in Southwestern Atlantic. However, unexpected patterns of diversity in genetic, reproductive compatibility, toxicity, and physiological response were found in several studies. The present review seeks to provide a broad overview of the species A. tamarense/catenella distribution, their toxicity and toxin composition in clonal isolates, and natural populations, using historical plankton, cyst, and toxin records. Also, the metabolic changes that occur in the toxic composition of primary and secondary consumers and the impact produced by their transference through the food chain are evaluated.


Alexandrium tamarense/catenella blooms Southwestern Atlantic Toxin composition Trophic transference Impacts 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora G. Montoya
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mario O. Carignan
    • 1
  • José I. Carreto
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP)Mar del PlataArgentina

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