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Keywords:

  • ciguatera;
  • ciguatoxin;
  • diarrhetic shellfish poisoning;
  • dinoflagellate;
  • okadaic acid;
  • paralytic shellfish poisoning;
  • saxitoxin

Summary

1. The present paper reviews the toxic dinoflagellates found in Singapore waters that produce toxins that can accumulate through marine food chains to cause seafood poisonings.

2. Singapore waters contain dinoflagellate species linked to three types of seafood poisoning: paralytic shellfish poisoning, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) and ciguatera.

3. Paralytic shellfish poisoning and DSP occur by eating bivalve shellfish contaminated with saxitoxins and okadaic acid analogues, respectively. Shellfish accumulate these toxins from filter feeding on a number of species of (mostly) planktonic dinoflagellates.

4. In contrast, benthic species of dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus produce the ciguatoxins that are bioaccumulated into finfish to cause ciguatera.

5. Paralytic shellfish poisoning and DSP are the major concern for local and regionally produced seafood. To the best of our knowledge, ciguatera poisoning in Singapore only originates from imported reef fish.