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Identification of Causative Agents and Species in Shrimp Implicated in a Food Poisoning Case in Taiwan

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The possible causative agent and shrimp species involved in a bait shrimp poisoning case that occurred in northern Taiwan was determined. Because the patient's symptoms were similar to those caused by boric acid and slightly similar to those caused by sulfite, the concentrations of boric acid and sulfite (as sulfur dioxide) in the patient's vomitus and in shrimp collected from bait stores and markets were analyzed. The concentration of boric acid was 36.8 to 37.1 mg/g in the patient's vomitus, 1.4 to 3.8 mg/g in shrimp meats obtained from bait stores, and not detectable (less than 0.001 mg/g) in shrimp meat obtained from commercial markets. No significant differences in sulfur dioxide concentrations (0.067 to 0.088 mg/g) were found in patient's vomitus and the shrimp meat from both bait stores and commercial markets. A fragment of the cytochrome b gene (∼406 bp) was amplified by PCR using a pair of primers (UCYTB151F and UCYTB270R) from shrimp meat of two species and the vomitus. The vomited shrimp was identified as Parapenaeus fissuroides on the basis of gene sequencing and restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns after treatment with endonuclease Alu I. Based on the patient's symptoms and analytical data, we concluded that boric acid at toxic levels had been illegally added to the bait shrimp P. fissuroides.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung 202, Taiwan, Republic of China 2: Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung 202, Taiwan, Republic of China;, Email: 3: Department of Food Science, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung 202, Taiwan, Republic of China 4: Department of Food Science, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung 202, Taiwan, Republic of China, Department of Food Science and Technology, Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-7610, USA 5: Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China, Division of Clinical Toxicology, Department of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital-Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China, Graduate Institute of Drug Safety, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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