ABSTRACT

Some harmful algal blooms produce lipophilic marine biotoxins (LMTs) such as okadaic acid (OA; and its analogs dinophysistoxins [DTXs]), yessotoxins (YTXs), pectenotoxins (PTXs), and azaspiracids (AZAs), all of which may accumulate in filter-feeding bivalve mollusks. European health regulations stipulate a limit of 160 μg/kg for OA or DTXs, PTXs, and AZAs and 3.75 mg/kg for YTXs. Argopecten purpuratus is a valuable commercial marine bivalve exploited in Peru. Despite its importance and the periodic reports of the presence of harmful algal blooms in Peruvian coastal waters, information regarding potential contamination of these scallops by LMTs is lacking. We evaluated LMTs in 115 samples of A. purpuratus collected between November 2013 and March 2015 from 18 production areas distributed along the Peruvian coast. The hepatopancreas, which accumulates most of the toxins in the scallop, was analyzed with liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry to quantify OA in its free form, YTX, AZA-1, and PTX-2. Baseline separation was achieved in 19 min. Linearity (R2 > 0.997), precision (coefficient of variation < 15%), and limits of quantification (0.155 to 0.479 ng/mL) were satisfactory. YTX was found in 72 samples, and PTX-2 was found in 17 samples, but concentrations of both biotoxins were below the regulatory limits. Free OA and AZA-1 were not detected in the scallop samples. This atypical profile (i.e., presence of PTX-2 and absence of OA) may be linked to the presence of the dinoflagellate Dinophysis acuminata. The production of YTX could be associated with the phytoplankton Gonyaulax spinifera and Protoceratium reticulatum. This is the first systematic assessment of the four types of LMTs in shellfish from Peruvian coastal waters. The results suggest low prevalence of LMTs in Peruvian bay scallops but support continued surveillance and analysis of LMTs in Peru.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • YTX was found for the first time in scallops from Peruvian coastal waters.

  • Free OA and AZA-1 were not detected in any scallop sample.

  • PTX-2 co-occurred with YTX in the scallops.

  • The highest concentrations of YTX and PTX-2 were below European regulatory limits.

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