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Pinnatoxins and spirolides in Norwegian blue mussels and seawater

Rundberget T, Aasen JAB, Selwood AI, Miles CO. Pinnatoxins and spirolides in Norwegian blue mussels and seawater. TOXICON 2011; 58 (8):700-11

Fast-acting cyclic imines belonging to the pinnatoxin and pteriatoxin group of toxins were originally identified in shellfish of the genera Pinna and Pteria in Japan, after food poisoning events in China linked to consumption of Pinna spp. Recently, a range of new and known pinnatoxin analogs has been identified in shellfish, sediment, and seawater samples from Australia and New Zealand.

Although the structurally closely-related spirolide toxins are better known, and have a worldwide distribution including Norway and other parts of Europe, the presence of pinnatoxins has not been reported in European waters or shellfish. Here we report results from a survey of Norwegian blue mussels for the presence of pinnatoxins and spirolides, by LC-MS/MS analysis of extracts obtained as part of Norway's routine monitoring programme for regulated algal toxins during late autumn and early winter 2009.

Spirolides and pinnatoxin G were widespread (pinnatoxin G (1), spirolide C (2), iso-spirolide C (3), 13-desmethylspirolide C (4), 13,19-didesmethylspirolide C (5), and 20-methylspirolide G (6) were detected in 69%, 13%, 60%, 22%, 33%, and 77%, respectively, of the shellfish samples) and, although levels were generally low, concentrations of up to 115 mu g/kg of pinnatoxin G (1) and 226 mu g/kg of 13-desmethylspirolide C (4) were detected.

We also analyzed stored extracts from passive sampling disks deployed as part of a separate study in autumn 2007. All the stored extracts contained 20-methylspirolide G (which predominated at most locations), most contained pinnatoxin G (73%) and 13,19-didesmethylspirolide C (67%), but iso-spirolide C (36%) and 13-desmethylspirolide C (52%) were also detected in many of the samples. These results suggest that pinnatoxins may be much more widespread than previously suspected, and indicate that they or related compounds could be responsible for sporadic incidents of rapid-onset symptoms during mouse bioassays of shellfish in Europe and elsewhere.

The toxicological significance of these levels of pinnatoxins and spirolides is at present unclear. However, although pinnatoxins appear to be less toxic than spirolides by intraperitoneal injection in the mouse bioassay, recently published preliminary toxicological data indicate that pinnatoxins may be as much as an order of magnitude more toxic than spirolides by oral ingestion via food. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

NVI authors