Okadaic acid (OA) is a phycotoxin produced by a group of microalgae known as Dino-flagellates. When mussels feed themselves from this micro seaweed the toxin accumulates in their hepatopancreas, triggering the Syndrome or Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) in the human being. The symptoms appear around 30 minutes after the consumption of contaminated mussels and include abdominal nauseas, pains, vomits and diarrhea. When the toxin ingestion happens in amounts lower than 48µg g-1, the above described symptoms do not develop. However, the continued consumption favors the emergence of tumors in the gastrointestinal tract because of the high carcinogenic power of OA. This study aimed to detect and quantify the diarrheic toxin OA in Perna perna mussels collected between May and October 2006. The detection of OA in the mussels was carried out through High Performance Liquid Chromatography with Fluorimetric Detection (HPLC-FD). The chromatographic results indicate the presence of OA toxin in low concentrations in all the mussel samples gathered from May until October 2006. The results suggest the necessity of elaboration and effective application of a hygienic-sanitary mussel control program as well as environment monitoring, with the main aim of enhancing public health safety.
diarrheic toxin; bivalves; phycotoxin; diarrheic shellfish poisoning (DSP)