Effects of environmental regimens on the toxin profile of Alexandrium ostenfeldii



Environmental conditions are key factors in the development of marine toxic phytoplankton. Spirolides are marine toxins with a heptacyclic imine ring responsible for the toxicity in mice. Alexandrium ostenfeldii (A. ostenfeldii) is the main producer of these toxins, although this dinoflagellate often produces toxins belonging to the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) group. The present study shows the first evidence that external environmental factors can influence the toxin profile produced by the dinoflagellate A. ostenfeldii. The species investigated is indigenous to the North Atlantic coast, and their cells grew under several environmental parameters. Toxin production was measured by means of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and the chromatograms reflect the presence of two spirolides in all cultures; one in the region m/z 692.5, corresponding to 13-desmethyl spirolide C (13-desMeC) and the other in the region m/z 678.5, which corresponds to 13,19-didesmethyl spirolide C (13,19-didesMeC). The physical parameters studied were salinity, culture media, and photoperiod. The highest amount of toxin per cell was obtained when dinoflagellates grew in F/2 and Walne medium, 28‰ salinity, and 24 h of light. However, the highest proportion of 13,19-didesMeC with respect to 13-desMeC was achieved in L1 medium, 33‰ salinity, and 14:10 h light:dark. On the contrary, the highest proportion of 13-desMeC in cells was obtained when A. ostenfeldii was cultured in F/2 medium, 28‰ salinity, and the same photoperiod. Therefore, from these data the optimum conditions to culture A. ostenfeldii and to obtain the highest amount of spirolide per cell are shown. In addition, these environmental conditions can be considered a tool to predict and avoid A. ostenfeldii blooms. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:301–310. © 2009 SETAC