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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...
Pinnatoxins and pteriatoxins are a group of cyclic imine toxins that have hitherto only been isolated from Japanese shellfish. As with other cyclic imine shellfish toxins, pinnatoxins cause rapid death in the mouse bioassay for lipophilic shellfish toxins, but there is no evidence directly linking these compounds to human illness. We have identified the known pinnatoxins A (1) and D (6), and the novel pinnatoxins E (7), F (8) and G (5), in a range of shellfish and environmental samples from Australia and New Zealand using LC−MS. After isolation from the digestive glands of Pacific oysters, the structures of the novel pinnatoxins were determined by mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy, and their LD50 values were evaluated by ip administration to mice. Examination of the toxin structures, together with analysis of environmental samples...
Depuration of tetrodotoxin (TTX) was investigated in adult grey side-gilled sea slugs, Pleurobranchaea maculata, maintained in captivity on a TTX-free diet. Three adults were harvested every 21 days for 126 days, and TTX concentrations were measured in organs/tissues and egg masses. Automated rRNA intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was used to investigate bacterial community structure in selected samples. Linear modeling of adult data demonstrated a decline (P < 0.001) in average total TTX concentrations over time. Temporal data obtained from a wild population showed similar depuration rates, indicating that once adults reach a certain size, or sexual maturity, TTX is no longer produced or acquired substantially. Depuration rates differed among organs, with concentrations in the heart declining the fastest. The gonads had the slowest a...
High concentrations of tetrodotoxin (TTX) have been detected in some New Zealand populations of Pleurobranchaea maculata (grey side-gilled sea slug). Within toxic populations there is significant variability in TTX concentrations among individuals, with up to 60-fold differences measured. This variability has led to challenges when conducting controlled laboratory experiments. The current method for assessing TTX concentrations within P. maculata is lethal, thus multiple individuals must be harvested at each sampling point to produce statistically meaningful data. In this study a method was developed for taking approximately 200 mg tissue biopsies using a TemnoEvolution® 18G × 11 cm Biopsy Needle inserted transversely into the foot. Correlation between the TTX concentrations in the biopsy sample and total TTX levels and in individual t...
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...
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...
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