Alexandrium pacificum and Alexandrium minutum: Harmful or environmentally friendly?

Type Article
Date 2020-09
Language English
Author(s) Caruana AmandineORCID1, Le Gac MickaelORCID2, Hervé FabienneORCID1, Rovillon Georges-Augustin1, Geffroy Solene1, Malo Florent1, Abadie EricORCID3, Amzil ZouherORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER-Phycotoxins Laboratory, F - 44311, Nantes, France
2 : IFREMER-DYNECO Pelagos, Centre de Bretagne, France
3 : MARBEC, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, IFREMER, IRD, Sète, France
Source Marine Environmental Research (0141-1136) (Elsevier BV), 2020-09 , Vol. 160 , P. 105014 (10p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105014
WOS© Times Cited 8
Keyword(s) DMSP, Algal toxins, Saxitoxin, Paralytic shellfish toxins, PST, Glycine betaine, Dinoflagellate, Phytoplankton, Salinity, dsyB gene

Alexandrium minutum and Alexandrium pacificum are representatives of the dinoflagellate genus that regularly proliferate on the French coasts and other global coastlines. These harmful species may threaten shellfish harvest and human health due to their ability to synthesize neurotoxic alkaloids of the saxitoxin group. However, some dinoflagellates such as A. minutum, and as reported here A. pacificum as well, may also have a beneficial impact on the environment by producing dimethylsulfoniopropionate-DMSP, the precursor of dimethylsulfur-DMS and sulfate aerosols involved in climate balance. However, environmental conditions might influence Alexandrium physiology towards the production of harmful or environmentally friendly compounds. After assessing the influence of two salinity regimes (33 and 38) relative to each species origin (Atlantic French coast and Mediterranean Lagoon respectively), it appears that DMSP and toxin content was variable between the three experimented strains and that higher salinity disadvantages toxin production and tends to favor the production of the osmolytes DMSP and glycine betaine. Hence, this key metabolite production is strain and species-dependent and is influenced by environmental conditions of salinity which in turn, can diversely affect the environment. Widespread coastal blooms of A. minutum and A. pacificum, although being a risk for seafood contamination with toxins, are also a DMSP and DMS source that potentially contribute to the ecosystem structuration and climate. Regarding recent advances in DMSP biosynthesis pathway, 3 dsyB homologs were found in A. minutum but no homolog of the diatom sequence TpMMT.

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