Shellfish farm. (Photo: Antonio Figueras)
New marine toxin onset linked with climate change to be assessed
Tuesday, October 09, 2018, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
The R&D&I Area of ANFACO-CECOPESCA has launched a research project that aims to assess the risk of the appearance of new toxins in bivalve mollusks and other marine organisms associated with climate change.
The project, entitled Prevention of food risks due to emerging marine toxins and microcystins associated with climate change: evaluation of trophic chain transfer, aims to provide knowledge on the incidence of new toxic phytoplankton species in Spanish coasts due to the effects of climate change.
The idea is to evaluate the potential risk of certain toxins that are not usually part of the control programmes of the harvest zones, and that can accumulate in the edible marine invertebrates and affect the consumer.
In particular, the project will focus on two groups of toxins considered emerging by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA): palitoxin and tetrodotoxin.
In addition, the development of a rapid method for the detection of phytoplankton species producing toxins of the genus Ostreopsis (O. siamensis, O. mascarenensis and O. ovata) based on real-time PCR (qPCR) is planned.
Throughout the year-long project, samples of seawater and species of marine organisms from various points on the Spanish coasts, such as Galicia, Catalonia and Andalusia, will be analyzed.
On the other hand, we will study a group of toxins produced by cyanobacteria in fresh water, microcystins, and the risk of transfer of these toxins to marine organisms in the coastal areas near the mouths of rivers. The proliferation of cyanobacteria has previously generated some problems related to the status of the drinking water, having to interrupt the supply from affected reservoirs.
The results obtained will be provided to the different administrations responsible for the monitoring of resources in order to improve the control of food of marine origin and food security.