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Toxicon. 2009 Jul;54(1):50-5. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2009.03.012. Epub 2009 Mar 19.

First report on toxicity assessment of the Lessepsian migrant pufferfish Lagocephalus sceleratus (Gmelin, 1789) from European waters (Aegean Sea, Greece).

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National Reference Laboratory of Marine Biotoxins, Institute of Food Hygiene, Ministry of Rural Development and Food, 3A Limnou Street, 54627 Thessaloniki, Greece.


According to the current European Union legislative requirements (Regulation 853/2004/EC; Regulation 854/2004/EC, poisonous fish of the family Tetraodontidae and products derived from them must not be placed on the European markets. Following the increased publicity regarding the presence of the pufferfish species Lagocephalus sceleratus in Greek waters, this study was undertaken in order to confirm its toxicity and assess the risk of poisoning in case of accidental consumption. Acidic extracts from tissues of L. sceleratus specimens of different sizes were examined by means of the official mouse bioassay for tetrodotoxin, while some of the extracts were also tested for the presence of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins with a commercial ELISA kit. Toxicity in mice, with symptomatology indicative of tetrodotoxin, was confirmed in a number of samples and indicated a correlation with fish size. Toxicity of certain tissues (liver, gonads, gastrointestinal tract) in larger individuals, expressed as microg/g tetrodotoxin equivalents, was largely above levels required to cause death in human adults. On the other hand, all tested extracts provided a positive reaction in the ELISA test for PSP toxins. This constitutes the first report for presence of toxicity in L. sceleratus caught in European coastal waters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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