• AZA – the producing organisms – biology and trophic transfer

      Tillmann, U.; Salas, R.; Jauffrais, T.; Hess, P.; Silke, J. (CRC Press, 2014)
      Compared to the knowledge on toxin structure, detection methods, and toxicology, convincing clarification of the aetiology of AZP was seriously lacking behind for quite a long time. Based upon the seasonal and episodic accumulation of AZA toxins in suspension-feeding bivalve molluscs – a situation similar to several other marine biotoxins - a planktonic source has been suspected from the outset. Furthermore, due to their polyether structural features, AZA has been suspected to be a dinoflagellate metabolite. Thus, it was no surprise that is was a dinoflagellate species which was first claimed to be the source of AZA. The link between AZA and P. crassipes, however, remained controversial because production of AZA by P. crassipes could not be verified in spite of numerous attempts based upon field surveys and laboratory investigations of cultured and isolated cells. Moreover, in contrast to other proven producers of phycotoxins, which are all primarily phototrophic, P. crassipes is a heterotrophic dinoflagellate, known to prey upon other dinoflagellates as food. The likelihood, therefore, that another dinoflagellate may produce AZA, which then accumulates in P. crassipes through normal feeding processes, could not be neglected.