Thursday, July 23, 2020

Seafood toxins

Although seafood is rarely implicated in food poisoning, compared to other food sources, it does provide some specific human health hazards unique to this particular resource.

Seafood poisoning is the foodborne illness associated with the consumption of shellfish and fish that contain toxins. Shellfish toxins are produced by certain dinoflagellate species. About 40 of some 5000 species of these marine phytoplankton, primarily dinoflagellates and diatoms, produce potent toxins. Bivalve shellfish, especially mussels, clams and oyster can accumulate so many toxins by ingesting with filter-feeding.

Most of these toxins are produced by naturally occurring marine algae (phytoplankton). Fish or molluscan shellfish consume the algae, or animals that have consumed the algae, which causes the toxins to accumulate in the fish’s or molluscan shellfish’s flesh. The toxin continues to accumulate in the feeding animal’s body at each point of consumption and results in higher levels further up the food chain.

Toxins that cause poisoning on fish are produced by spoilage bacteria. The deterioration of fish (tuna, sardine etc.) causes toxins to occur.

Seafood poisoning is a serious illness and the toxins (saxitoxin, tetrodotoxins, etc.) that are responsible for this illness pose a great risk to seafood safety and public health. The inability of finding an antidote for seafood poisoning makes this foodborne illness even more serious.

There are numerous natural toxins identified worldwide; however, there are currently six recognized natural toxin poisoning syndromes that can occur from consuming contaminated fish and fishery products which are:
•amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP),
•azaspiracid shellfish poisoning (AZP),
•ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP),
•diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP),
•neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP), and
•paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).

Paralytic shellfish poisoning is a distinctive, neurological illness caused by a group of 20 closely related tetrahydropurine, water soluble, heat stable compounds, the paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs). They vary in potency and are present in toxic shellfish in different concentrations and combinations.
Seafood toxins
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