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Development of a qualitative PCR method for the Alexandrium spp. (Dinophyceae) detection in contaminated mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis)

AuthorsGalluzzi, Luca; Penna, Antonella; Bertozzini, Elena; Giacobbe, Maria Grazia; Vila, Magda ; Garcés, Esther ; Prioli, Silvia; Magnani, Mauro
KeywordsAlexandrium minutum
Mytilus galloprovincialis
Issue DateNov-2005
CitationHarmful Algae 4(6): 973-983 (2005)
AbstractParalytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is a syndrome caused by the consumption of shellfish contaminated with neurotoxins produced by organisms of the marine dinoflagellate genus Alexandrium. A. minutum is the most widespread species responsible for PSP in the Western Mediterranean basin. The standard monitoring of shellfish farms for the presence of harmful algae and related toxins usually requires the microscopic examination of phytoplankton populations, bioassays and toxin determination by HPLC. These procedures are time-consuming and require remarkable experience, thus limiting the number of specimens that can be analyzed by a single laboratory unit. Molecular biology techniques may be helpful in the detection of target microorganisms in field samples. In this study, we developed a qualitative PCR assay for the rapid detection of all potentially toxic species belonging to the Alexandrium genus and specifically A. minutum, in contaminated mussels. Alexandrium genus-specific primers were designed to target the 5.8S rDNA region, while an A. minutum species-specific primer was designed to bind in the ITS1 region. The assay was validated using several fixed seawater samples from the Mediterranean basin, which were analyzed using PCR along with standard microscopy procedures. The assay provided a rapid method for monitoring the presence of Alexandrium spp. in mussel tissues, as well as in seawater samples. The results showed that PCR is a valid, rapid alternative procedure for the detection of target phytoplankton species either in seawater or directly in mussels, where microalgae can accumulate. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
Description11 pages, 4 figures, 2 tables
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2005.01.004
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.hal.2005.01.004
issn: 1568-9883
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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