An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Monitoring of Toxin Producing Phytoplankton in Scottish Coastal Waters

Institutions
FRS Marine Laboratory
Start date
2002
End date
2004
Objective
April 2002 to March 2003

Fourteen sites around the Scottish Coast were selected to participate in the first period of the phytoplankton monitoring programme. Coastal sites were chosen because of their position in relation to shellfish harvesting areas and their geographic location. Collectors at these sites voluntarily sent in water samples for analysis. Samples were sent in weekly during the summer and monthly during the winter. In addition, eight offshore sites, chosen because of their historic amnesic shellfish poison (ASP) levels in scallops, were targeted for sampling by FSA charter vessels. These samples were analysed for the presence of toxin producing cells using light microscopy and the results archived in a phytoplankton database. One hundred samples were also analysed using a transmission electron microscope to identify the Pseudonitzschia cells present to species level.

April 2003 to March 2004

Twenty-three sites around the Scottish Coast were selected to participate in the second period monitoring programme. In addition, 79 offshore sites were targeted for sampling by FSA charter vessels. Ten samples were also analysed using a transmission electron microscope to identify the Pseudonitzschia cells present to species level.

More information
Certain phytoplankton can produce toxins that can accumulate in shellfish. These toxins do not effect the shellfish themselves but can cause severe illness in humans if shellfish containing these toxins are consumed. To protect human health, the EU issued Directive 91/492/EEC which requires member states to monitor their coastal waters for the presence of these toxin producing phytoplankton

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
S01007
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins
Commodities
Seafood