Paralyzing shellfish toxins in the Argentine Sea: Impact, trophic transfer and perspective


  • Nora Montoya Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP)



Toxic algae blooms, monitoring of harmful algae, toxic dinoflagellates, mortality of marine organisms, Argentina


In the Argentine Sea dinoflagellates Gymodinium catenatum and the Alexandrium tamarense/catenella complex produce potent neurotoxins (saxitoxins) that can be accumulated in molluscs and produce severe intoxications in humans known as Paralyzing Shellfish Poisoning. The transfer of said toxins through the food web may have serious consequences for human health, aquaculture, fishing, industry and the regional economy. Due to the implications for public health, the role of bivalve molluscs in their transfer has been studied in depth. However, the information available on the toxins bioaccumulated in the rest of marine organisms is scarce since they are not subject to monitoring. In a context of global climate change that may favour the occurrence of events involving Paralyzing Molluscs Toxins (TPM), a synthesis of updated information for the Argentine Sea on the dinoflagellates that produce them and their distribution, the toxins involved and the metabolic transformations that occur in their transference along the food web is presented. The impact of TPMs on the integrity of the ecosystem and the management and control measures used to minimize the consequences on public health is explored.


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How to Cite

Montoya, N. (2019) “Paralyzing shellfish toxins in the Argentine Sea: Impact, trophic transfer and perspective”, Marine and Fishery Sciences (MAFIS), 32(1), pp. 47–69. doi: 10.47193/mafis.3212019061805.