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Characterization of Pathogenic Aquatic Eucaryotes and Their Toxins


Evaluate aquatic biotoxin seafood hazards by determination of identity, toxicity, critical points/limits and detection methods.
Specifically, goals will focus on identifying biotoxins, such as the known toxins of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP),neurotoxic shellfish poison (NSP toxins, primarily brevetoxin and metabolites=PbTx), diarrhetic shell fish poison (DSP), ciguatera fish poisoning toxin (CFP), and totally unknown toxins such as those recently evident in POC and buffalo fish that may be present in seafoods.

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While plankton are, in general, a vital component of the marine biosphere, some species produce potent toxins that accumulate in seafood and put human consumers at risk. Existing management programs have dealt moderately well with the problem in the past, but are challenged by novel toxins, and different temporal and spacial patterns of occurrence. Pfeisteria Organism Complex (POC)-associated fish kills have aroused concerns that POC toxins might accumulate in seafood. Despite the lack of any evidence of a public health risk, solid data are needed to properly address the situation. There is a general need for a better understanding of the various kinds of organisms and toxins known to cause human illness, better detection methods, including replacement of animal bioassays, for them, and development of novel management strategies that will provide better detection at lower cost. Levels of contamination likely to pose human health hazards will be assessed and the means/tools needed to control such biotoxins developed. These are multidisciplinary studies involving chemistry (including elucidation of structure as a basis for developing quantitative tests), toxicology and molecular biology. Toxin chemical standards for FDA and external regulatory and research laboratories are produced under this project.
Provide tools for establishing control procedures, critical control points and critical limits (i.e. action levels) for all biotoxins affecting consumers of seafoods. Develop management tools and strategies to address the problem of seafood contamination by natural toxins from plankton. Provide improved detection methods, and,where possible, provide alternatives to animal bioassay methods. To develop more cost-effective, reliable programs for scientifically based marine biotoxin management and to ensure that existing programs deal effectively with new threats. Establishment of control procedures, critical control points and critical limits (i.e. action levels) for all biotoxins affecting consumers of seafoods.

Hoskin, George
DHHS/FDA - Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition
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