PSP toxin analysis and discrimination of the naturally co-occurring Alexandrium tamarense and A. minutum (Dinophyceae) in Cork Harbour, Ireland
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Paralytic shellfish poisoning
Harmful algal bloom
A mixed community composed of a non-toxic form of Alexandrium tamarense and a paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxin-producing A. minutum develops on an annual basis in Cork Harbour, Ireland. The understanding of the ecological mechanisms that influence the population dynamics of these bloom-forming species is fragmentary, partly due to the difficulty in the discrimination between Alexandrium species in mixed phytoplankton assemblages by conventional light microscopy. During 2 surveys carried out in the estuary in July and September 2005, taxon-specific large subunit rRNA targeted probes were used in a whole-cell fluorescent in situ hybridisation assay to facilitate the detection and quantification of Alexandrium spp. in seawater samples. The Alexandrium spp. concentrations derived with molecular probes were on average half those obtained using an Utermöhl sedimentation chamber and calcofluor. Results showed the dominance of A. tamarense over A. minutum in July and an almost ...
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