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Geographical and Annual Variation in Lipophilic Shellfish Toxins from Oysters and Mussels along the South Coast of Korea

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To better understand critical aspects of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) occurrence in a chief producing region of bivalves in Korea, the geographical and annual variation of DSP toxins and other lipophilic toxins in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and oysters (Crassostrea gigas) were investigated by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry in an area on the south coast of Korea from 2007 to 2009. The total lipophilic shellfish toxin (LST) levels in bivalves showed geographical and annual variations. LSTs were detected mostly in the hepatopancreas of mussels from Jinhae Bay throughout the entire year, except in November and December of 2007, but were almost undetectable in all samples during the entire year in 2009. The peak DSP toxin (okadaic acid plus dinophysistoxin 1) levels in the hepatopancreas of mussels from Jinhae Bay and the Tongyeong region were 945.3 and 37.6 ng/g, respectively. The DSP toxin content was about 10 times higher in mussels than in oysters collected from the same region. The major toxins in bivalves were okadaic acid and dinophysistoxin 1; however, pectenotoxin 2 or yessotoxin was occasionally detected as a major component. The results of a quantitative analysis of phytoplankton showed that Dinophysis acuminata was the most probable source of the LSTs, with the exception of yessotoxin. When the highest DSP toxin level was measured (945.3 ng/g in the hepatopancreas of mussels from Jinhae Bay), the toxin concentration in whole mussel tissue was calculated to be 114.0 ng/g. The calculated highest DSP toxin level in whole oyster tissue from both regions was 15.0 ng/g. The calculated maximum toxicities in whole mussel and oyster tissues were lower than the regulatory limit (160 to 200 ng/g) in Korea, the European Union, and the United States. Korean oysters (242 samples) and mussels (214 samples) were thus deemed safe for consumption. But because such variation was detected in a relatively small area of the coast, it is possible that at some locations or during a specific period LST levels could exceed the standard and a few consumers could be at risk of experiencing DSP.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Food Safety Research Division, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, 408-1, Sirang-ri, Gijang-up, Gijang-gun, Busan 619-705, Korea 2: College of Pharmacy, Pusan National University, Geumjeong-gu, Busan 609-735, Korea

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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