• Toxins And Toxicity Of Protogonyaulax From The Northeast Pacific

      Hall, Sherwood (1982)
      Dinoflagellates of the genus Protogonyaulax contain a group of substances that can be lethal to many creatures, including man, and may accumulate at many points in the food web. The substances are most familiar as paralytic shellfish poison (PSP), which occurs sporadically in bivalves. The present study was undertaken because previous work left in doubt both the origin and chemical nature of the toxins along the Alaskan coast. To investigate the problem, dinoflagellates were isolated from locations along the Pacific coast ranging from San Francisco to Dutch Harbor. Most isolates were obtained by incubating subtidal sediments to germinate resting cysts. Toxic isolates were obtained from most locations sampled. On the basis of morphology, all toxic isolates fell within the genus Protogonyaulax. The growth and toxicity of one clone (PI07) was studied under a variety of culture conditions. Toxicity was greatly suppressed under the conditions traditionally employed for culturing Protogonyaulax, suggesting that the toxicity of cells in nature may in general be higher than has been recognized. Chemical studies of the toxins extracted from Protogonyaulax revealed that the six toxins previously known (saxitoxin, its N-1-hydroxyl and 11-hydroxysulfate derivatives) are generally accompanied by somewhat larger amounts of their 21-sulfo derivatives. These have likely not been recognized in past studies due to their greatly reduced toxicity, facile hydrolysis, and altered chromatographic properties. The toxin composition of several isolates was determined and indicates that toxin composition is a conservative property of each clone and that there are regional populations of Protogonyaulax with uniform toxin composition, but that toxin composition differs substantially among regions. This pattern of variation, coupled with the great differences in the properties of the toxins, indicates that the nature of PSP will similarly vary from one region to another but will be uniform within each.