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Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent neurotoxin that has been identified in a range of phylogenetically unrelated marine and terrestrial organisms. Tetrodotoxin was recently detected in New Zealand in Pleurobranchaea maculata (the grey side-gilled sea slug). From June 2010 to June 2011 wild specimens were collected from 10 locations around New Zealand. At one site (Narrow Neck Beach, Auckland) up to 10 individuals were collected monthly for 6 months. Attempts were also made to rear P. maculata in captivity. Tetrodotoxin was detected in samples from eight of the ten sites. The highest average (368.7 mg kg?????) and maximum (1414.0 mg kg?????) concentrations were measured in samples from Illiomama Rock (Auckland). Of the toxic populations tested there was significant variability in TTX concentrations among individuals, with the highest differe...
The origin of tetrodotoxin (TTX) is highly debated; researchers have postulated either an endogenous or exogenous source with the host accumulating TTX symbiotically or via food chain transmission. The aim of this study was to determine whether the grey side-gilled sea slug (Pleurobranchaea maculata) could obtain TTX from a dietary source, and to attempt to identify this source through environmental surveys. Eighteen non-toxic P. maculata were maintained in aquariums and twelve were fed a TTX-containing diet. Three P. maculata were harvested after 1 h, 24 h, 17 days and 39 days and TTX concentrations in their stomach, gonad, mantle and remaining tissue/fluids determined using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Tetrodotoxin was detected in all organs/tissue after 1 h with an average uptake of 32%. This decreased throughout the exp...
A culture collection of freshwater planktonic and benthic cyanobacteria collected from sites across New Zealand has been established at the Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand. Limited resources led to uncertainty regarding the long-term maintenance of this collection. The present study demonstrates cryopreservation to be a viable method for long-term storage of cyanobacteria. Seventeen of 20 strains evaluated were successfully cryopreserved using the permeating cryopreservation agent dimethyl sulfoxide (Me2 SO), at a final concentration of 15% (v/v). Cyanotoxin analysis was undertaken on selected strains known to produce microcystins, nodularin, anatoxin-a, and saxitoxins. All strains retained their ability to produce these toxins following cryopreservation.
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