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Plant Physiol. 1988 Dec;88(4):1285-90.

Paralytic Shellfish Toxins in Protogonyaulax tamarensis and Protogonyaulax catenella in Axenic Culture.

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  • 1Department of Botany KB-15, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195.


Paralytic shellfish toxin concentrations were measured and individual toxin profiles were monitored in axenic batch cultures of Protogonyaulax tamarensis and Protogonyaulax catenella. High pressure liquid chromatographic methods were used that allowed the separation of all 12 known paralytic shellfish poisons, including toxins C1, C2, and C3, from a single sample. In isolates of both Protogonyaulax species, total toxin levels were relatively low after inoculation, increased rapidly in early to mid-exponential growth to a value 100 to 300% of that at the initial time point, then decreased by 86 to 95% as the culture aged. Although the concentrations of individual toxins per cell followed the same general pattern as that seen for total moles of toxin per cell, variability in toxin profile with culture age was observed. In P. tamarensis, the mole percent of neosaxitoxin increased substantially from 8 to 44% as total toxin levels per cell decreased. A concomitant decrease in the mole percent of saxitoxin with culture age was noted. Although not as precipitous, changes in the mole percent of specific toxins from P. catenella were also observed. The mole percent of gonyautoxins I and IV increased, while that of gonyautoxins II and III decreased. These data suggest that the toxin profile in isolates of Protogonyaulax can change, sometimes significantly, with changing environmental variables.

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