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Phylogenetic analysis and yessotoxin profiles of Gonyaulax spinifera cultures from the Benguela Current upwelling system

Chibo Chikwililwa, Pearse McCarron, Joanna J. Waniek, Detlef E. Schulz-Bull
Harmful algae 2019 v.85 pp. 101626
Gonyaulax, algal blooms, coasts, euphotic zone, hydroxylation, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, molecular genetics, oceans, phylogeny, phytoplankton, poisonous algae, primary productivity, toxicity, yessotoxin, Italy, Namibia, New Zealand
The Benguela Current in the Atlantic is one of the four major upwelling systems on the Eastern boundary of the world ocean. Thus the coastal regions off Namibia are prone to high primary productivity that can lead to Harmful Algae Blooms as this nutrient rich water reaches the euphotic zone. Yessotoxins (YTXs) produced by G. spinifera were detected in Namibian phytoplankton field samples in 2011. Isolation of G. spinifera cultures from this location in 2012 enabled molecular genetics work and further liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry assessment of toxin profiles. The molecular work grouped the Benguela G. spinifera with other toxic G. spinifera strains originating from Italy and New Zealand. The main YTX analogs present in the Benguela G. spinifera are homo-YTX, YTX and a hydroxylated analogue. This work adds important knowledge on the occurrence of Harmful Algae Blooms in this region and is of relevance for safety.