• Morphological and molecular characterization of the small armoured dinoflagellate Heterocapsa minima (Peridiniales, Dinophyceae)

      Salas, R.; Tillmann, U.; Kavanagh, S. (Taylor and Francis, 2014)
      The dinophycean genus Heterocapsa is of considerable interest as it contains a number of bloom-forming and/or harmful species. Fine structure of organic body scales is regarded as the most important morphological feature for species determination but currently is unknown for the species H. minima described by Pomroy 25 years ago. Availability of a culture of H. minima collected in the south-west of Ireland allowed us to provide important information for this species, including cell size, cell organelle location, thecal plate pattern, body scale fine structure and molecular phylogeny. Light microscopy revealed the presence of one reticulate chloroplast, an elongated centrally located nucleus, and the presence of one pyrenoid surrounded by a starch sheath. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the thecal plate pattern indicated that Pomroy erroneously designated the narrow first cingular plate as a sulcal plate. In addition, SEM revealed as yet unreported details of the apical pore complex and uncommon ornamentations of hypothecal plates. Organic body scales of H. minima were about 400 nm in size, roundish, with a small central hole and one central, six peripheral and three radiating spines. They differ from other body scales described within this genus allowing for positive identification of H. minima. Heterocapsa minima shares gross cell morphological features (hyposome smaller than episome, elongated nucleus in the middle of the cell, one pyrenoid located in the episome on its left side) with H. arctica (both subspecies H. arctica subsp. arctica and H. arctica subsp. frigida), H. lanceolata and H. rotundata. These relationships are reflected in the phylogenetic trees based on LSU and ITS rDNA sequence data, which identified H. arctica (both subspecies), H. rotundata and H. lanceolata as close relatives of H. minima.
    • Phylogenetic analysis of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus in Ireland reveals the spread of a virulent genogroup 5 subtype previously associated with imports

      Ruane, N.M.; McCleary, S.J.; McCarthy, L.J.; Henshilwood, K. (Springer Verlag, 2015)
      Infectious pancreatic necrosis is a significant disease of farmed salmonids resulting in direct economic losses due to high mortality and disease-management costs. Significant outbreaks of the disease occurred in farmed Atlantic salmon in Ireland between 2003 and 2007, associated with imported ova and smolts. As the virus was known to occur in the country since the development of aquaculture in the 1980s, this study examined archived samples to determine whether these older isolates were associated with virulent forms. The study showed that two genotypes of IPNV were present in the 1990s, genotype 3 and genotype 5. A more virulent subtype of the virus first appeared in 2003 associated with clinical outbreaks of IPN, and this subtype is now the most prevalent form of IPNV found in the country. The data also indicated that IPNV in Ireland is more closely related to Scottish and continental European isolates than to Norwegian, Chilean and Australasian genogroup 5 isolates.
    • The role of Azadinium spinosum (Dinophyceae) in the production of azaspiracid shellfish poisoning in mussels

      Salas, Rafael; Tillmann, Urban; John, Uwe; Kilcoyne, Jane; Burson, Amanda; Cantwell, Caoimhe; Hess, Philipp; Jauffrais, Thierry; Silke, Joe (Elsevier, 2011)
      Azaspiracids (AZAs) are a group of lipophilic polyether compounds first detected in Ireland which have been implicated in shellfish poisoning incidents around Europe. These toxins regularly effect shellfish mariculture operations including protracted closures of shellfish harvesting areas for human consumption. The armoured dinoflagellate Azadinium spinosum Elbrächter et Tillmann gen. et sp. nov. (Dinophyceae) has been described as the de novo azaspiracid toxin producer; nonetheless the link between this organism and AZA toxin accumulation in shellfish has not yet been established. In August 2009, shellfish samples of blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) from the Southwest of Ireland were analysed using liquid chromatography–tandem-mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) and were found to be above the regulatory limit (0.16 μg g−1 AZA-equiv.) for AZAs. Water samples from this area were collected and one algal isolate was identified as A. spinosum and was shown to produce azaspiracid toxins. This is the first strain of A. spinosum isolated from Irish waters. The Irish A. spinosum is identical with the other two available A. spinosum strains from Scotland (3D9) and from Denmark (UTHE2) in its sequence of the D1–D2 regions of the LSU rDNA. A 24 h feeding trial of blue mussels (M. edulis) using an algal suspension of the Irish A. spinosum culture at different cell densities demonstrated that A. spinosum is filtered, consumed and digested directly by mussels. Also, LC–MS/MS analysis had shown that AZAs were accumulating in the shellfish hepatopancreas. The toxins AZA1 and -2 were detected in the shellfish together with the AZA analogues AZA3, AZA6, AZA17 and -19 suggesting that AZA1 and -2 are metabolised in the shellfish within the first 24 h after ingestion of the algae. The levels of AZA17 detected in the shellfish hepatopancreas (HP) were equivalent to the levels of AZA1 but in the remainder tissues the levels of AZA17 were four to five times higher than that of AZA1, only small quantities of AZA3 and -19 were present with negligible amounts of AZA6 detected after the 24 h period. This could have implications in the future monitoring of these toxins given that at present according to EU legislation only AZA1–AZA3 is regulated for. This is the first report of blue mussels’ (M. edulis) feeding on the azaspiracid producing algae A. spinosum from Irish waters.