Saxitoxins and okadaic acid group: accumulation and distribution in invertebrate marine vectors from Southern Chile

Carlos García*, Francisco Pérez, Cristóbal Contreras, Diego Figueroa, Andrés Barriga, Américo López-Rivera, Oscar F. Araneda, Héctor R. Contreras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Harmful algae blooms (HABs) are the main source of marine toxins in the aquatic environment surrounding the austral fjords in Chile. Huichas Island (Aysén) has an history of HABs spanning more than 30 years, but there is limited investigation of the bioaccumulation of marine toxins in the bivalves and gastropods from the Region of Aysén. In this study, bivalves (Mytilus chilenses, Choromytilus chorus, Aulacomya ater, Gari solida, Tagelus dombeii and Venus antiqua) and carnivorous gastropods (Argobuccinum ranelliformes and Concholepas concholepas) were collected from 28 sites. Researchers analysed the accumulation of STX-group toxins using a LC with a derivatisation post column (LC-PCOX), while lipophilic toxins (OA-group, azapiracids, pectenotoxins and yessotoxins) were analysed using LC-MS/MS with electrospray ionisation (+/–) in visceral (hepatopancreas) and non-visceral tissues (mantle, adductor muscle, gills and foot). Levels of STX-group and OA-group toxins varied among individuals from the same site. Among all tissue samples, the highest concentrations of STX-group toxins were noted in the hepatopancreas in V. antiqua (95 ± 0.1 μg STX-eq 100 g−1), T. dombeii (148 ± 1.4 μg STX-eq 100 g−1) and G. solida (3232 ± 5.2 μg STX-eq 100 g−1; p < 0.05); in the adductor muscle in M. chilensis (2495 ± 6.4 μg STX-eq 100 g−1; p < 0.05) and in the foot in C. concholepas (81 ± 0.7 μg STX-eq 100 g−1) and T. dombeii (114 ± 1.2 μg STX-eq 100 g−1). The highest variability of toxins was detected in G. solida, where high levels of carbamate derivatives were identified (GTXs, neoSTX and STX). In addition to the detected hydrophilic toxins, OA-group toxins were detected (OA and DTX-1) with an average ratio of ≈1:1. The highest levels of OA-group toxins were in the foot of C. concholepas, with levels of 400.3 ± 3.6 μg OA eq kg−1 (p < 0.05) and with a toxic profile composed of 90% OA. A wide range of OA-group toxins was detected in M. chilensis with a toxicity < 80 μg OA eq kg−1, but with 74% of those toxins detected in the adductor muscle. In all evaluated species, there was no detection of lipophilic toxins associated with biotransformation in molluscs and carnivorous gastropods. In addition, the STX-group and OA-group toxin concentrations in shellfish was not associated with the presence of HAB. The ranking of toxin concentration in the tissues of most species was: digestive glands > mantle > adductor muscle for the STX-group toxins and foot > digestive gland for the OA-group toxins. These results gave a better understanding of the variability and compartmentalisation of STX-group and OA-group toxins in different bivalve and gastropod species from the south of Chile, and the analyses determined that tissues could play an important role in the biotransformation of STX-group toxins and the retention of OA-group toxins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-1002
Number of pages19
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment
Issue number6
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was performed with funds from Fondo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Chilean National Science and Technology Fund) (FONDECYT) Number 1120030 (granted to C. García).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • LC-MS/MS
  • LC-analyses
  • compartmentalisation
  • dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX-1)
  • gonyautoxins (GTX)
  • neosaxitoxin (neoSTX)
  • okadaic acid (OA)
  • saxitoxin (STX)


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