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Toxicon. 2004 Feb;43(2):185-94.

Accumulation and depuration of the cyanobacterial toxin cylindrospermopsin in the freshwater mussel Anodonta cygnea.

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  • 1Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Rua dos Bragas, Portugal.


Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a toxic alkaloid produced by several genera of freshwater cyanobacteria. This compound has been implicated in outbreaks of human sickness and the death of domestic and wild animals. Given that several of the cyanobacterial genera known to produce CYN are common components of the phytoplankton of freshwaters including aquaculture facilities, we studied the accumulation of CYN in the freshwater mussel (swan mussel) Anodonta cygnea. Anodonta were exposed to CYN-producing cultures of the cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii for 16 days and were found to accumulate the toxin to concentrations up to 2.52 microg g tissue dry weight(-1). There was considerable variation in the concentrations of CYN detected in different parts of the body. At the end of a 2-week accumulation period the distribution of CYN in the body of Anodonta was as follows: haemolymph (68.1%), viscera (23.3%), foot and gonad (7.7%) and mantle (0.9%). No CYN was detected in the gills or adductor muscle of any animals. Following a 2-week depuration period, approximately 50% of the toxin remained in the tissues. Based on the recently derived guideline value for CYN in human drinking water (1 microg l(-1)) and the concentrations of this compound in animal tissues reported here, there is a clear need for the increased monitoring of this compound in organisms grown for human and animal consumption.

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