Next Issue
Volume 13, October
Previous Issue
Volume 13, August

Toxins, Volume 13, Issue 9 (September 2021) – 83 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In phylum Cnidaria, venom apparatus is distributed across the entire animal, supporting regionalisation of venom production and tissue-specific expression of toxins. Transcriptomic analysis was used to characterise the toxin profiles of specialised tentacular structures and investigate their functional significance within order Actiniaria. Results showed the differential expression of toxin genes is associated with morphological variation of tentacular structures in a tissue-specific manner. Furthermore, hosting photosynthetic symbionts may account for the tentacle-specific toxin expression profiles in select sea anemone families. Thus, specialised tentacular structures serve unique ecological roles, and in order to fulfil their functions, they possess distinct venom cocktails. View this paper.
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Article
Impact of Phytochemicals on Viability and Cereulide Toxin Synthesis in Bacillus cereus Revealed by a Novel High-Throughput Method, Coupling an AlamarBlue-Based Assay with UPLC-MS/MS
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 672; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090672 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Due to its food-poisoning potential, Bacillus cereus has attracted the attention of the food industry. The cereulide-toxin-producing subgroup is of particular concern, as cereulide toxin is implicated in broadscale food-borne outbreaks and occasionally causes fatalities. The health risks associated with long-term cereulide exposure [...] Read more.
Due to its food-poisoning potential, Bacillus cereus has attracted the attention of the food industry. The cereulide-toxin-producing subgroup is of particular concern, as cereulide toxin is implicated in broadscale food-borne outbreaks and occasionally causes fatalities. The health risks associated with long-term cereulide exposure at low doses remain largely unexplored. Natural substances, such as plant-based secondary metabolites, are widely known for their effective antibacterial potential, which makes them promising as ingredients in food and also as a surrogate for antibiotics. In this work, we tested a range of structurally related phytochemicals, including benzene derivatives, monoterpenes, hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives and vitamins, for their inhibitory effects on the growth of B. cereus and the production of cereulide toxin. For this purpose, we developed a high-throughput, small-scale method which allowed us to analyze B. cereus survival and cereulide production simultaneously in one workflow by coupling an AlamarBlue-based viability assay with ultraperformance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). This combinatory method allowed us to identify not only phytochemicals with high antibacterial potential, but also ones specifically eradicating cereulide biosynthesis already at very low concentrations, such as gingerol and curcumin. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Neutralizing Concentrations of Anti-Botulinum Toxin Antibodies Positively Correlate with Mouse Neutralization Assay Results in a Guinea Pig Model
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 671; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090671 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 565
Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) are some of the most toxic proteins known and can induce respiratory failure requiring long-term intensive care. Treatment of botulism includes the administration of antitoxins. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) hold considerable promise as BoNT therapeutics and prophylactics, due to their potency [...] Read more.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) are some of the most toxic proteins known and can induce respiratory failure requiring long-term intensive care. Treatment of botulism includes the administration of antitoxins. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) hold considerable promise as BoNT therapeutics and prophylactics, due to their potency and safety. A three-mAb combination has been developed that specifically neutralizes BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A), and a separate three mAb combination has been developed that specifically neutralizes BoNT serotype B (BoNT/B). A six mAb cocktail, designated G03-52-01, has been developed that combines the anti-BoNT/A and anti-BoNT/B mAbs. The pharmacokinetics and neutralizing antibody concentration (NAC) of G03-52-01 has been determined in guinea pigs, and these parameters were correlated with protection against an inhalation challenge of BoNT/A1 or BoNT/B1. Previously, it was shown that each antibody demonstrated a dose-dependent mAb serum concentration and reached maximum circulating concentrations within 48 h after intramuscular (IM) or intraperitoneal (IP) injection and that a single IM injection of G03-52-01 administered 48 h pre-exposure protected guinea pigs against an inhalation challenge of up to 93 LD50s of BoNT/A1 and 116 LD50s of BoNT/B1. The data presented here advance our understanding of the relationship of the neutralizing NAC to the measured circulating antibody concentration and provide additional support that a single IM or intravenous (IV) administration of G03-52-01 will provide pre-exposure prophylaxis against botulism from an aerosol exposure of BoNT/A and BoNT/B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence, Detection and Mitigation of Microbial Toxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Naturally Occurring Fusarium Species and Mycotoxins in Oat Grains from Manitoba, Canada
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 670; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090670 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 601
Abstract
Fusarium head blight (FHB) can lead to dramatic yield losses and mycotoxin contamination in small grain cereals in Canada. To assess the extent and severity of FHB in oat, samples collected from 168 commercial oat fields in the province of Manitoba, Canada, during [...] Read more.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) can lead to dramatic yield losses and mycotoxin contamination in small grain cereals in Canada. To assess the extent and severity of FHB in oat, samples collected from 168 commercial oat fields in the province of Manitoba, Canada, during 2016–2018 were analyzed for the occurrence of Fusarium head blight and associated mycotoxins. Through morphological and molecular analysis, F. poae was found to be the predominant Fusarium species affecting oat, followed by F. graminearum, F. sporotrichioides, F. avenaceum, and F. culmorum. Deoxynivalenol (DON) and nivalenol (NIV), type B trichothecenes, were the two most abundant Fusarium mycotoxins detected in oat. Beauvericin (BEA) was also frequently detected, though at lower concentrations. Close clustering of F. poae and NIV/BEA, F. graminearum and DON, and F. sporotrichioides and HT2/T2 (type A trichothecenes) was detected in the principal component analysis. Sampling location and crop rotation significantly impacted the concentrations of Fusarium mycotoxins in oat. A phylogenetic analysis of 95 F. poae strains from Manitoba was conducted using the concatenated nucleotide sequences of Tef-1α, Tri1, and Tri8 genes. The results indicated that all F. poae strains belong to a monophyletic lineage. Four subgroups of F. poae strains were identified; however, no correlations were observed between the grouping of F. poae strains and sample locations/crop rotations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from the 15th European Fusarium Seminar)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Force Mapping Study of Actinoporin Effect in Membranes Presenting Phase Domains
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 669; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090669 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Equinatoxin II (EqtII) and Fragaceatoxin C (FraC) are pore-forming toxins (PFTs) from the actinoporin family that have enhanced membrane affinity in the presence of sphingomyelin (SM) and phase coexistence in the membrane. However, little is known about the effect of these proteins on [...] Read more.
Equinatoxin II (EqtII) and Fragaceatoxin C (FraC) are pore-forming toxins (PFTs) from the actinoporin family that have enhanced membrane affinity in the presence of sphingomyelin (SM) and phase coexistence in the membrane. However, little is known about the effect of these proteins on the nanoscopic properties of membrane domains. Here, we used combined confocal microscopy and force mapping by atomic force microscopy to study the effect of EqtII and FraC on the organization of phase-separated phosphatidylcholine/SM/cholesterol membranes. To this aim, we developed a fast, high-throughput processing tool to correlate structural and nano-mechanical information from force mapping. We found that both proteins changed the lipid domain shape. Strikingly, they induced a reduction in the domain area and circularity, suggesting a decrease in the line tension due to a lipid phase height mismatch, which correlated with proteins binding to the domain interfaces. Moreover, force mapping suggested that the proteins affected the mechanical properties at the edge, but not in the bulk, of the domains. This effect could not be revealed by ensemble force spectroscopy measurements supporting the suitability of force mapping to study local membrane topographical and mechanical alterations by membranotropic proteins. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Removal of Aflatoxin B1 by Edible Mushroom-Forming Fungi and Its Mechanism
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 668; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090668 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Aflatoxins (AFs) are biologically active toxic metabolites, which are produced by certain toxigenic Aspergillus sp. on agricultural crops. In this study, five edible mushroom-forming fungi were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography fluorescence detector (HPLC-FLD) for their ability to remove aflatoxin B1 (AFB [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins (AFs) are biologically active toxic metabolites, which are produced by certain toxigenic Aspergillus sp. on agricultural crops. In this study, five edible mushroom-forming fungi were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography fluorescence detector (HPLC-FLD) for their ability to remove aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), one of the most potent naturally occurring carcinogens known. Bjerkandera adusta and Auricularia auricular-judae showed the most significant AFB1 removal activities (96.3% and 100%, respectively) among five strains after 14-day incubation. The cell lysate from B. adusta exhibited higher AFB1 removal activity (35%) than the cell-free supernatant (13%) after 1-day incubation and the highest removal activity (80%) after 5-day incubation at 40 °C. In addition, AFB1 analyses using whole cells, cell lysates, and cell debris from B. adusta showed that cell debris had the highest AFB1 removal activity at 5th day (95%). Moreover, exopolysaccharides from B. adusta showed an increasing trend (24–48%) similar to whole cells and cell lysates after 5- day incubation. Our results strongly suggest that AFB1 removal activity by whole cells was mainly due to AFB1 binding onto cell debris during early incubation and partly due to binding onto cell lysates along with exopolysaccharides after saturation of AFB1 binding process onto cell wall components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Determination and Detoxification Strategies of Mycotoxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Impact of Season, Region, and Traditional Agricultural Practices on Aflatoxins and Fumonisins Contamination in the Rice Chain in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 667; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090667 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 678
Abstract
The current study aimed to evaluate the impact of the crop season, cultivation region, and traditional pre- and post-harvest agricultural practices on mycotoxin contamination in the Mekong Delta rice chain of Vietnam. The results showed that aflatoxins (AFs) and fumonisins (FBs) were predominantly [...] Read more.
The current study aimed to evaluate the impact of the crop season, cultivation region, and traditional pre- and post-harvest agricultural practices on mycotoxin contamination in the Mekong Delta rice chain of Vietnam. The results showed that aflatoxins (AFs) and fumonisins (FBs) were predominantly detected in both paddy (n = 91/184, 50%) and white rice (n = 9/46, 20%). Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1)-contaminated paddy samples (n = 3) exceeded the regulatory threshold (5 µg·kg−1). The contamination of paddy with AFs and FBs was not significantly different by growing seasons and cultivation localities. Evidently, in the winter–spring season, fumonisins frequently occurred in paddy planted in Can Tho, while AFs were found in paddy planted in regions Dong Thap and An Giang, and such toxins were absent in Can Tho. Furthermore, the selection of paddy varieties strongly impacted the occurrence of these toxins, especially AFs, for example, line DT8 and Jasmine were susceptible to AFs and FBs. In addition, poor pre- and post-harvest practices (such as crop residue-free fields, fertilizer application, unsanitary means of transport, delayed drying time) had an impact on the AFs and FBs contamination. Our findings can help to understand the dynamics of AFs and FBs in the rice chain in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, leading to the mitigation of the contamination of AFs and FBs in rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Is Toxin-Producing Planktothrix sp. an Emerging Species in Lake Constance?
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 666; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090666 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 769
Abstract
Recurring blooms of filamentous, red-pigmented and toxin-producing cyanobacteria Planktothrix rubescens have been reported in numerous deep and stratified prealpine lakes, with the exception of Lake Constance. In a 2019 and 2020 Lake Constance field campaign, we collected samples from a distinct red-pigmented biomass [...] Read more.
Recurring blooms of filamentous, red-pigmented and toxin-producing cyanobacteria Planktothrix rubescens have been reported in numerous deep and stratified prealpine lakes, with the exception of Lake Constance. In a 2019 and 2020 Lake Constance field campaign, we collected samples from a distinct red-pigmented biomass maximum below the chlorophyll-a maximum, which was determined using fluorescence probe measurements at depths between 18 and 20 m. Here, we report the characterization of these deep water red pigment maxima (DRM) as cyanobacterial blooms. Using 16S rRNA gene-amplicon sequencing, we found evidence that the blooms were, indeed, contributed by Planktothrix spp., although phycoerythrin-rich Synechococcus taxa constituted most of the biomass (>96% relative read abundance) of the cyanobacterial DRM community. Through UPLC–MS/MS, we also detected toxic microcystins (MCs) in the DRM in the individual sampling days at concentrations of ≤1.5 ng/L. Subsequently, we reevaluated the fluorescence probe measurements collected over the past decade and found that, in the summer, DRM have been present in Lake Constance, at least since 2009. Our study highlights the need for a continuous monitoring program also targeting the cyanobacterial DRM in Lake Constance, and for future studies on the competition of the different cyanobacterial taxa. Future studies will address the potential community composition changes in response to the climate change driven physiochemical and biological parameters of the lake. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Adsorbents Reduce Aflatoxin M1 Residue in Milk of Healthy Dairy Cow Exposed to Moderate Level Aflatoxin B1 in Diet and Its Exposure Risk for Humans
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 665; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090665 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 673
Abstract
This study investigated the effect of moderate risk level (8 µg/kg) AFB1 in diet supplemented with or without adsorbents on lactation performance, serum parameters, milk AFM1 content of healthy lactating cows and the AFM1 residue exposure risk in different human [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effect of moderate risk level (8 µg/kg) AFB1 in diet supplemented with or without adsorbents on lactation performance, serum parameters, milk AFM1 content of healthy lactating cows and the AFM1 residue exposure risk in different human age groups. Forty late healthy lactating Holstein cows (270 ± 22 d in milk; daily milk yield 21 ± 3.1 kg/d) were randomly assigned to four treatments: control diet without AFB1 and adsorbents (CON), CON with 8 μg/kg AFB1 (dry matter basis, AF), AF + 15 g/d adsorbent 1 (AD1), AF + 15 g/d adsorbent 2 (AD2). The experiment lasted for 19 days, including an AFB1-challenge phase (day 1 to 14) and an AFB1-withdraw phase (day 15 to 19). Results showed that both AFB1 and adsorbents treatments had no significant effects on the DMI, milk yield, 3.5% FCM yield, milk components and serum parameters. Compared with the AF, AD1 and AD2 had significantly lower milk AFM1 concentrations (93 ng/L vs. 46 ng/L vs. 51 ng/L) and transfer rates of dietary AFB1 into milk AFM1 (1.16% vs. 0.57% vs. 0.63%) (p < 0.05). Children aged 2–4 years old had the highest exposure risk to AFM1 in milk in AF, with an EDI of 1.02 ng/kg bw/day and a HI of 5.11 (HI > 1 indicates a potential risk for liver cancer). Both AD1 and AD2 had obviously reductions in EDI and HI for all population groups, whereas, the EDI (≥0.25 ng/kg bw/day) and HI (≥1.23) of children aged 2–11 years old were still higher than the suggested tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.20 ng/kg bw/day and 1.00 (HI). In conclusion, moderate risk level AFB1 in the diet of healthy lactating cows could cause a public health hazard and adding adsorbents in the dairy diet is an effective measure to remit AFM1 residue in milk and its exposure risk for humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remediation Strategies for Mycotoxin in Animal Feed)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Novel Glutathione S-Transferase Gtt2 Class (VpGSTT2) Is Found in the Genome of the AHPND/EMS Vibrio parahaemolyticus Shrimp Pathogen
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 664; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090664 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Glutathione S-transferases are a family of detoxifying enzymes that catalyze the conjugation of reduced glutathione (GSH) with different xenobiotic compounds using either Ser, Tyr, or Cys as a primary catalytic residue. We identified a novel GST in the genome of the shrimp pathogen [...] Read more.
Glutathione S-transferases are a family of detoxifying enzymes that catalyze the conjugation of reduced glutathione (GSH) with different xenobiotic compounds using either Ser, Tyr, or Cys as a primary catalytic residue. We identified a novel GST in the genome of the shrimp pathogen V. parahaemolyticus FIM- S1708+, a bacterial strain associated with Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND)/Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) in cultured shrimp. This new GST class was named Gtt2. It has an atypical catalytic mechanism in which a water molecule instead of Ser, Tyr, or Cys activates the sulfhydryl group of GSH. The biochemical properties of Gtt2 from Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VpGSTT2) were characterized using kinetic and crystallographic methods. Recombinant VpGSTT2 was enzymatically active using GSH and CDNB as substrates, with a specific activity of 5.7 units/mg. Low affinity for substrates was demonstrated using both Michaelis–Menten kinetics and isothermal titration calorimetry. The crystal structure showed a canonical two-domain structure comprising a glutathione binding G-domain and a hydrophobic ligand H domain. A water molecule was hydrogen-bonded to residues Thr9 and Ser 11, as reported for the yeast Gtt2, suggesting a primary role in the reaction. Molecular docking showed that GSH could bind at the G-site in the vicinity of Ser11. G-site mutationsT9A and S11A were analyzed. S11A retained 30% activity, while T9A/S11A showed no detectable activity. VpGSTT2 was the first bacterial Gtt2 characterized, in which residues Ser11 and Thr9 coordinated a water molecule as part of a catalytic mechanism that was characteristic of yeast GTT2. The GTT2 family has been shown to provide protection against metal toxicity; in some cases, excess heavy metals appear in shrimp ponds presenting AHPND/EMS. Further studies may address whether GTT2 in V. parahaemolyticus pathogenic strains may provide a competitive advantage as a novel detoxification mechanism. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
In Vitro Biological Control of Aspergillus flavus by Hanseniaspora opuntiae L479 and Hanseniaspora uvarum L793, Producers of Antifungal Volatile Organic Compounds
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 663; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090663 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Aspergillus flavus is a toxigenic fungal colonizer of fruits and cereals and may produce one of the most important mycotoxins from a food safety perspective, aflatoxins. Therefore, its growth and mycotoxin production should be effectively avoided to protect consumers’ health. Among the safe [...] Read more.
Aspergillus flavus is a toxigenic fungal colonizer of fruits and cereals and may produce one of the most important mycotoxins from a food safety perspective, aflatoxins. Therefore, its growth and mycotoxin production should be effectively avoided to protect consumers’ health. Among the safe and green antifungal strategies that can be applied in the field, biocontrol is a recent and emerging strategy that needs to be explored. Yeasts are normally good biocontrol candidates to minimize mold-related hazards and their modes of action are numerous, one of them being the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). To this end, the influence of VOCs produced by Hanseniaspora opuntiae L479 and Hanseniaspora uvarum L793 on growth, expression of the regulatory gene of the aflatoxin pathway (aflR) and mycotoxin production by A. flavus for 21 days was assessed. The results showed that both yeasts, despite producing different kinds of VOCs, had a similar effect on inhibiting growth, mycotoxin biosynthetic gene expression and phenotypic toxin production overall at the mid-incubation period when their synthesis was the greatest. Based on the results, both yeast strains, H. opuntiae L479 and H. uvarum L793, are potentially suitable as a biopreservative agents for inhibiting the growth of A. flavus and reducing aflatoxin accumulation. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Thermal Stability and Degradation Kinetics of Patulin in Highly Acidic Conditions: Impact of Cysteine
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 662; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090662 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 477
Abstract
The thermal stability and degradation kinetics of patulin (PAT, 10 μmol/L) in pH 3.5 of phosphoric-citric acid buffer solutions in the absence and presence of cysteine (CYS, 30 μmol/L) were investigated at temperatures ranging from 90 to 150 °C. The zero-, first-, and [...] Read more.
The thermal stability and degradation kinetics of patulin (PAT, 10 μmol/L) in pH 3.5 of phosphoric-citric acid buffer solutions in the absence and presence of cysteine (CYS, 30 μmol/L) were investigated at temperatures ranging from 90 to 150 °C. The zero-, first-, and second-order models and the Weibull model were used to fit the degradation process of patulin. Both the first-order kinetic model and Weibull model better described the degradation of patulin in the presence of cysteine while it was complexed to simulate them in the absence of cysteine with various models at different temperatures based on the correlation coefficients (R2 > 0.90). At the same reaction time, cysteine and temperature significantly affected the degradation efficiency of patulin in highly acidic conditions (p < 0.01). The rate constants (kT) for patulin degradation with cysteine (0.0036–0.3200 μg/L·min) were far more than those of treatments without cysteine (0.0012–0.1614 μg/L·min), and the activation energy (Ea = 43.89 kJ/mol) was far less than that of treatment without cysteine (61.74 kJ/mol). Increasing temperature could obviously improve the degradation efficiency of patulin, regardless of the presence of cysteine. Thus, both cysteine and high temperature decreased the stability of patulin in highly acidic conditions and improved its degradation efficiency, which could be applied to guide the detoxification of patulin by cysteine in the juice processing industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Bee Venom Alleviated Edema and Pain in Monosodium Urate Crystals-Induced Gouty Arthritis in Rat by Inhibiting Inflammation
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 661; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090661 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 525
Abstract
Bee venom (BV) acupuncture has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects; therefore, it was used as a traditional Korean medicine for various musculoskeletal disorders, especially arthritis. In this study, we investigated the effect of BV on monosodium urate (MSU) crystal-induced acute gouty rats. An intra-articular [...] Read more.
Bee venom (BV) acupuncture has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects; therefore, it was used as a traditional Korean medicine for various musculoskeletal disorders, especially arthritis. In this study, we investigated the effect of BV on monosodium urate (MSU) crystal-induced acute gouty rats. An intra-articular injection of MSU crystal suspension (1.25 mg/site) was administered to the tibiotarsal joint of the hind paw of Sprague Dawley rats to induce MSU crystal-induced gouty arthritis. Colchicine (30 mg/kg) was orally administered 1 h before MSU crystal injection as a positive control, and BV (0.5 mg/kg) was injected into the tibiotarsal joint immediately after MSU crystal injection. The ankle thickness, mechanical allodynia, and expression of proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL6, COX2 and iNOS) and chemokines (MIP-1α, MIP-1β, MCP-1, GRO-α, MIP-2α) were then evaluated. BV reduced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, which are important mediators of MSU crystal-induced inflammatory responses. This anti-inflammatory effect was also confirmed histologically to attenuate synovitis and neutrophil infiltration. We demonstrated that BV markedly ameliorated ankle edema and mechanical allodynia in gouty rats. These results suggest that BV acupuncture is a potential clinical therapy for acute gouty management. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Cyanotoxins and the Nervous System
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 660; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090660 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 633
Abstract
Cyanobacteria are capable of producing a wide range of bioactive compounds with many considered to be toxins. Although there are a number of toxicological outcomes with respect to cyanobacterial exposure, this review aims to examine those which affect the central nervous system (CNS) [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria are capable of producing a wide range of bioactive compounds with many considered to be toxins. Although there are a number of toxicological outcomes with respect to cyanobacterial exposure, this review aims to examine those which affect the central nervous system (CNS) or have neurotoxicological properties. Such exposures can be acute or chronic, and we detail issues concerning CNS entry, detection and remediation. Exposure can occur through a variety of media but, increasingly, exposure through air via inhalation may have greater significance and requires further investigation. Even though cyanobacterial toxins have traditionally been classified based on their primary mode of toxicity, increasing evidence suggests that some also possess neurotoxic properties and include known cyanotoxins and unknown compounds. Furthermore, chronic long-term exposure to these compounds is increasingly being identified as adversely affecting human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Risk Assessment Related to Cyanotoxins Exposure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Validation of LC-MS/MS Coupled with a Chiral Column for the Determination of 3- or 15-Acetyl Deoxynivalenol Mycotoxins from Fusarium graminearum in Wheat
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 659; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090659 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 787
Abstract
The major causal agents Fusarium graminearum (F. graminearum) and Fusarium asiaticum could produce multiple mycotoxins in infected wheat, which threatens the health of humans and animals. Specifically, deoxynivalenol (DON) and its derivatives 3- and 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol (3-ADON and 15-ADON) are commonly detected [...] Read more.
The major causal agents Fusarium graminearum (F. graminearum) and Fusarium asiaticum could produce multiple mycotoxins in infected wheat, which threatens the health of humans and animals. Specifically, deoxynivalenol (DON) and its derivatives 3- and 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol (3-ADON and 15-ADON) are commonly detected mycotoxins in cereal grains. However, the good chromatographic separation of 3-ADON and 15-ADON remains challenging. Here, an LC-MS/MS method for the chemotype determination of Fusarium strains was developed and validated. 3- and 15-ADON could be separated chromatographically in this study with sufficiently low limits of detection (LODs; 4 μg/kg) and limits of quantification (LOQs; 8 μg/kg). The satisfying intraday and interday reproducibility (both %RSDr and %RSDR were <20%) of this method indicated good stability. The recoveries of all analytes were in the range of 80–120%. In addition, three F. graminearum complex (FGC) strains, i.e., PH-1 (chemotype 15-ADON), F-1 (chemotype 3-ADON) and 5035 (chemotype 15-ADON), were selected to verify the accuracy of the method in differentiating phenotypes. The validation results showed that this LC-MS/MS method based on sample pretreatment is effective and suitable for the chromatographic separation of 3-ADON and 15-ADON in wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins Study: Identification and Control)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Cadherin Protein Is Involved in the Action of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac Toxin in Ostrinia furnacalis
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 658; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090658 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal proteins have been extensively planted for insect pest control, but the evolution of Bt resistance in target pests threatens the sustainability of this approach. Mutations of cadherin in the midgut brush border membrane was associated with [...] Read more.
Transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal proteins have been extensively planted for insect pest control, but the evolution of Bt resistance in target pests threatens the sustainability of this approach. Mutations of cadherin in the midgut brush border membrane was associated with Cry1Ac resistance in several lepidoptera species, including the Asian corn borer, Ostrinia furnacalis, a major pest of maize in Asian–Western Pacific countries. However, the causality of O. furnacalis cadherin (OfCad) with Cry1Ac resistance remains to be clarified. In this study, in vitro and in vivo approaches were employed to examine the involvement of OfCad in mediating Cry1Ac toxicity. Sf9 cells transfected with OfCad showed significant immunofluorescent binding with Cry1Ac toxin and exhibited a concentration-dependent mortality effect when exposed to Cry1Ac. The OfCad knockout strain OfCad-KO, bearing homozygous 15.4 kb deletion of the OfCad gene generated by CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, exhibited moderate-level resistance to Cry1Ac (14-fold) and low-level resistance to Cry1Aa (4.6-fold), but no significant changes in susceptibility to Cry1Ab and Cry1Fa, compared with the original NJ-S strain. The Cry1Ac resistance phenotype was inherited as autosomal, recessive mode, and significantly linked with the OfCad knockout in the OfCad-KO strain. These results demonstrate that the OfCad protein is a functional receptor for Cry1Ac, and disruption of OfCad confers a moderate Cry1Ac resistance in O. furnacalis. This study provides new insights into the mode of action of the Cry1Ac toxin and useful information for designing resistance monitoring and management strategies for O. furnacalis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Identification of Fish Species and Toxins Implicated in a Snapper Food Poisoning Event in Sabah, Malaysia, 2017
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 657; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090657 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 735
Abstract
In the coastal countries of Southeast Asia, fish is a staple diet and certain fish species are food delicacies to local populations or commercially important to individual communities. Although there have been several suspected cases of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in Southeast Asian [...] Read more.
In the coastal countries of Southeast Asia, fish is a staple diet and certain fish species are food delicacies to local populations or commercially important to individual communities. Although there have been several suspected cases of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in Southeast Asian countries, few have been confirmed by ciguatoxins identification, resulting in limited information for the correct diagnosis of this food-borne disease. In the present study, ciguatoxin-1B (CTX-1B) in red snapper (Lutjanus bohar) implicated in a CFP case in Sabah, Malaysia, in December 2017 was determined by single-quadrupole selected ion monitoring (SIM) liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Continuous consumption of the toxic fish likely resulted in CFP, even when the toxin concentration in the fish consumed was low. The identification of the fish species was performed using the molecular characterization of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene marker, with a phylogenetic analysis of the genus Lutjanus. This is the first report identifying the causative toxin in fish-implicated CFP in Malaysia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring of Marine Biotoxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Production of Alternaria Toxins in Yellow Peach (Amygdalus persica) upon Artificial Inoculation with Alternaria alternate
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 656; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090656 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
The yellow peach (Amygdalus persica), an important fruit in China, is highly susceptible to infection by Alternaria sp., leading to potential health risks and economic losses. In the current study, firstly, yellow peaches were artificially inoculated with Alternariaalternate. [...] Read more.
The yellow peach (Amygdalus persica), an important fruit in China, is highly susceptible to infection by Alternaria sp., leading to potential health risks and economic losses. In the current study, firstly, yellow peaches were artificially inoculated with Alternariaalternate. Then, the fruits were stored at 4 °C and 28 °C to simulate the current storage conditions that consumers use, and the Alternaria toxins (ATs) contents from different parts of the fruits were analyzed via ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS). The results showed that the growth of A. alternate and the ATs production were dramatically affected by the storage temperature. At 28 °C, the fungi grew rapidly and the lesion diameter reached about 4.0 cm within 15 days of inoculation, while, at 4 °C, the fungal growth was noticeably inhibited, with no significant change in the lesion diameter. To our surprise, high contents of ATs were produced under both storage conditions even though the fungal growth was suppressed. With an increase in the incubation time, the amounts of ATs showed a steady tendency to increase in most cases. Remarkably, alternariol monomethyl ether (AME), alternariol (AOH), and tenuazonic acid (TeA) were detected in the rotten tissue and also in the surrounding tissue, while a large amount of TeA could also be found in the healthy tissue. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report regarding the production of ATs by the infection of Alternaria sp. in yellow peach fruits via artificial inoculation under regulated conditions, and, based on the evidence herein, it is recommended that ATs be included in monitoring and control programs of yellow peach management and food safety administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins, Food Safety and Metrology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Wickerhamomyces Yeast Killer Toxins’ Medical Applications
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 655; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090655 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Possible implications and applications of the yeast killer phenomenon in the fight against infectious diseases are reviewed, with particular reference to some wide-spectrum killer toxins (KTs) produced by Wickerhamomyces anomalus and other related species. A perspective on the applications of these KTs in [...] Read more.
Possible implications and applications of the yeast killer phenomenon in the fight against infectious diseases are reviewed, with particular reference to some wide-spectrum killer toxins (KTs) produced by Wickerhamomyces anomalus and other related species. A perspective on the applications of these KTs in the medical field is provided considering (1) a direct use of killer strains, in particular in the symbiotic control of arthropod-borne diseases; (2) a direct use of KTs as experimental therapeutic agents; (3) the production, through the idiotypic network, of immunological derivatives of KTs and their use as potential anti-infective therapeutics. Studies on immunological derivatives of KTs in the context of vaccine development are also described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Yeast Killer Toxin)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Proteomic Identification and Quantification of Snake Venom Biomarkers in Venom and Plasma Extracellular Vesicles
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 654; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090654 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 628
Abstract
The global exploration of snakebites requires the use of quantitative omics approaches to characterize snake venom as it enters into the systemic circulation. These omics approaches give insights into the venom proteome, but a further exploration is warranted to analyze the venom-reactome for [...] Read more.
The global exploration of snakebites requires the use of quantitative omics approaches to characterize snake venom as it enters into the systemic circulation. These omics approaches give insights into the venom proteome, but a further exploration is warranted to analyze the venom-reactome for the identification of snake venom biomarkers. The recent discovery of extracellular vesicles (EVs), and their critical cellular functions, has presented them as intriguing sources for biomarker discovery and disease diagnosis. Herein, we purified EV’s from the snake venom (svEVs) of Crotalus atrox and C. oreganus helleri, and from plasma of BALB/c mice injected with venom from each snake using EVtrap in conjunction with quantitative mass spectrometry for the proteomic identification and quantification of svEVs and plasma biomarkers. Snake venom EVs from C. atrox and C. o. helleri were highly enriched in 5′ nucleosidase, L-amino acid oxidase, and metalloproteinases. In mouse plasma EVs, a bioinformatic analysis for revealed upregulated responses involved with cytochrome P450, lipid metabolism, acute phase inflammation immune, and heat shock responses, while downregulated proteins were associated with mitochondrial electron transport, NADH, TCA, cortical cytoskeleton, reticulum stress, and oxidative reduction. Altogether, this analysis will provide direct evidence for svEVs composition and observation of the physiological changes of an envenomated organism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Influence of H2O2-Induced Oxidative Stress on In Vitro Growth and Moniliformin and Fumonisins Accumulation by Fusarium proliferatum and Fusarium subglutinans
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 653; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090653 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Fusarium proliferatum and Fusarium subglutinans are common pathogens of maize which are known to produce mycotoxins, including moniliformin (MON) and fumonisins (FBs). Fungal secondary metabolism and response to oxidative stress are interlaced, where hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) plays a pivotal [...] Read more.
Fusarium proliferatum and Fusarium subglutinans are common pathogens of maize which are known to produce mycotoxins, including moniliformin (MON) and fumonisins (FBs). Fungal secondary metabolism and response to oxidative stress are interlaced, where hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) plays a pivotal role in the modulation of mycotoxin production. The objective of this study is to examine the effect of H2O2-induced oxidative stress on fungal growth, as well as MON and FBs production, in different isolates of these fungi. When these isolates were cultured in the presence of 1, 2, 5, and 10 mM H2O2, the fungal biomass of F. subglutinans isolates showed a strong sensitivity to increasing oxidative conditions (27–58% reduction), whereas F. proliferatum isolates were not affected or even slightly improved (45% increase). H2O2 treatment at the lower concentration of 1 mM caused an almost total disappearance of MON and a strong reduction of FBs content in the two fungal species and isolates tested. The catalase activity, surveyed due to its crucial role as an H2O2 scavenger, showed no significant changes at 1 mM H2O2 treatment, thus indicating a lack of correlation with MON and FB changes. H2O2 treatment was also able to reduce MON and FB content in certified maize material, and the same behavior was observed in the presence and absence of these fungi, highlighting a direct effect of H2O2 on the stability of these mycotoxins. Taken together, these data provide insights into the role of H2O2 which, when increased under stress conditions, could affect the vegetative response and mycotoxin production (and degradation) of these fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Stress on the Production of Mycotoxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Ageratina adenophora Disrupts the Intestinal Structure and Immune Barrier Integrity in Rats
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 651; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090651 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 526
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Ageratina adenophora on the intestines morphology and integrity in rat. Rats were randomly divided into two groups and were fed with 10 g/100 g body weight (BW) basal diet and 10 g/100 [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Ageratina adenophora on the intestines morphology and integrity in rat. Rats were randomly divided into two groups and were fed with 10 g/100 g body weight (BW) basal diet and 10 g/100 g BW experimental diet, which was a mixture of A. adenophora powder and basal diet in a 3:7 ratio. The feeding experiment lasted for 60 days. At days 28 and 60 of the experiment, eight rats/group/timepoint were randomly selected, weighed, and sacrificed, then blood and intestinal tissues were collected and stored for further analysis. The results showed that Ageratina adenophora caused pathological changes and injury in the intestine, elevated serum diamine oxidase (DAO), D-lactate (D-LA), and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) levels, reduced occludin levels in intestinal tissues, as well as increased the count of intraepithelial leukocytes (IELs) and lamina propria leukocytes (LPLs) in the intestine (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01). In addition, the mRNA and protein (ELISA) expressions of pro-inflammation cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, TNF-α, and IFN-ϒ) were elevated in the Ageratina adenophora treatment groups, whereas anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-4 and IL-10 were reduced (p < 0.01 or p < 0.05). Therefore, the results obtained in this study indicated that Ageratina adenophora impaired intestinal function in rats by damaging the intestine structure and integrity, and also triggered an inflammation immune response that led to intestinal immune barrier dysfunction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Toxic and Pharmacological Effect of Plant Toxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Validation and Application of a Low-Cost Sorting Device for Fumonisin Reduction in Maize
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 652; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090652 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 517
Abstract
Fumonisin mycotoxins are a persistent challenge to human and livestock health in tropical and sub-tropical maize cropping systems, and more efficient methods are needed to reduce their presence in food systems. We constructed a novel, low-cost device for sorting grain, the “DropSort”, and [...] Read more.
Fumonisin mycotoxins are a persistent challenge to human and livestock health in tropical and sub-tropical maize cropping systems, and more efficient methods are needed to reduce their presence in food systems. We constructed a novel, low-cost device for sorting grain, the “DropSort”, and tested its effectiveness on both plastic kernel models and fumonisin-contaminated maize. Sorting plastic kernels of known size and shape enabled us to optimize the sorting performance of the DropSort. The device sorted maize into three distinct fractions as measured by bulk density and 100-kernel weight. The level of fumonisin was lower in the heaviest fractions of maize compared to the unsorted samples. Based on correlations among fumonisin and bulk characteristics of each fraction, we found that light fraction 100-kernel weight could be an inexpensive proxy for unsorted fumonisin concentration. Single kernel analysis revealed significant relationships among kernel fumonisin content and physical characteristics that could prove useful for future sorting efforts. The availability of a low-cost device (materials~USD 300) that can be used to reduce fumonisin in maize could improve food safety in resource-limited contexts in which fumonisin contamination remains a pressing challenge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Toward Isolation of Palytoxins: Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Low- or High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry for the Study on the Impact of Drying Techniques, Solvents and Materials
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 650; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090650 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Palytoxin (PLTX) and its congeners are emerging toxins held responsible for a number of human poisonings following the inhalation of toxic aerosols, skin contact, or the ingestion of contaminated seafood. Despite the strong structural analogies, the relative toxic potencies of PLTX congeners are [...] Read more.
Palytoxin (PLTX) and its congeners are emerging toxins held responsible for a number of human poisonings following the inhalation of toxic aerosols, skin contact, or the ingestion of contaminated seafood. Despite the strong structural analogies, the relative toxic potencies of PLTX congeners are quite different, making it necessary to isolate them individually in sufficient amounts for toxicological and analytical purposes. Previous studies showed poor PLTX recoveries with a dramatic decrease in PLTX yield throughout each purification step. In view of a large-scale preparative work aimed at the preparation of PLTX reference material, we have investigated evaporation as a critical—although unavoidable—step that heavily affects overall recoveries. The experiments were carried out in two laboratories using different liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) instruments, with either unit or high resolution. Palytoxin behaved differently when concentrated to a minimum volume rather than when evaporated to complete dryness. The recoveries strongly depended on the solubility as well as on the material of the used container. The LC-MS analyses of PLTX dissolved in aqueous organic blends proved to give a peak intensity higher then when dissolved in pure water. After drying, the PLTX adsorption appeared stronger on glass surfaces than on plastic materials. However, both the solvents used to dilute PLTX and that used for re-dissolution had an important role. A quantitative recovery (97%) was achieved when completely drying 80% aqueous EtOH solutions of PLTX under N2-stream in Teflon. The stability of PLTX in acids was also investigated. Although PLTX was quite stable in 0.2% acetic acid solutions, upon exposure to stronger acids (pH < 2.66), degradation products were observed, among which a PLTX methyl-ester was identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Diversity of Mycobiota in Spanish Grape Berries and Selection of Hanseniaspora uvarum U1 to Prevent Mycotoxin Contamination
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 649; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090649 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 868
Abstract
The occurrence of mycotoxins on grapes poses a high risk for food safety; thus, it is necessary to implement effective prevention methods. In this work, a metagenomic approach revealed the presence of important mycotoxigenic fungi in grape berries, including Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus [...] Read more.
The occurrence of mycotoxins on grapes poses a high risk for food safety; thus, it is necessary to implement effective prevention methods. In this work, a metagenomic approach revealed the presence of important mycotoxigenic fungi in grape berries, including Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger aggregate species, or Aspergillus section Circumdati. However, A. carbonarius was not detected in any sample. One of the samples was not contaminated by any mycotoxigenic species, and, therefore, it was selected for the isolation of potential biocontrol agents. In this context, Hanseniaspora uvarum U1 was selected for biocontrol in vitro assays. The results showed that this yeast is able to reduce the growth rate of the main ochratoxigenic and aflatoxigenic Aspergillus spp. occurring on grapes. Moreover, H. uvarum U1 seems to be an effective detoxifying agent for aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A, probably mediated by the mechanisms of adsorption to the cell wall and other active mechanisms. Therefore, H. uvarum U1 should be considered in an integrated approach to preventing AFB1 and OTA in grapes due to its potential as a biocontrol and detoxifying agent. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Reduction of the Combined Effects of Aflatoxin and Ochratoxin A in Piglet Livers and Kidneys by Dietary Antioxidants
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 648; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090648 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 592
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the combined effects of aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A on protein expression and catalytic activities of CYP1A2, CYP2E1, CYP3A29 and GSTA1 and the preventive effect of dietary byproduct antioxidants administration against these mycotoxin damage. Three [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the combined effects of aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A on protein expression and catalytic activities of CYP1A2, CYP2E1, CYP3A29 and GSTA1 and the preventive effect of dietary byproduct antioxidants administration against these mycotoxin damage. Three experimental groups (E1, E2, E3) and one control group (C) of piglets after weaning (TOPIGS-40 hybrid) were fed with experimental diets for 30 days. A basal diet containing normal compound feed for starter piglets was used as a control treatment and free of mycotoxin. The experimental groups were fed as follows: E1—basal diet plus a mixture (1:1) of two byproducts (grapeseed and sea buckthorn meal), E2—the basal diet experimentally contaminated with mycotoxins (479 ppb OTA and 62ppb AFB1) and E3—basal diet containing 5% of the mixture (1:1) of grapeseed and sea buckthorn meal and contaminated with the mix of OTA and AFB1. After 4 weeks, the animals were slaughtered, and tissue samples were taken from liver and kidney in order to perform microsomal fraction isolation, followed by protein expression and enzymatic analyses. The protein expressions of CYP2E1 and CYP3A29 were up-regulated in an insignificant manner in liver, whereas in kidney, those of CYP1A2, CYP2E1 and CYP3A29 were down-regulated. The enzymatic activities of CYP1A2, CYP2E1 and CYP3A29 decreased in liver, in a significant manner, whereas in kidney, these increased significantly. The co-presence of the two mycotoxins and the mixture of grape seed and sea buckthorn meal generated a tendency to return to the control values, which suggest that grapeseed and sea buckthorn meal waste represent a promising source in counteracting the harmful effect of ochratoxin A and aflatoxin B. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Effect of Botulinum Toxin on Non-Motor Symptoms in Cervical Dystonia
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 647; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090647 - 12 Sep 2021
Viewed by 807
Abstract
Patients with cervical dystonia (CD) may display non-motor symptoms, including psychiatric disturbances, pain, and sleep disorders. Intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) is the most efficacious treatment for motor symptoms in CD, but little is known about its effects on non-motor [...] Read more.
Patients with cervical dystonia (CD) may display non-motor symptoms, including psychiatric disturbances, pain, and sleep disorders. Intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) is the most efficacious treatment for motor symptoms in CD, but little is known about its effects on non-motor manifestations. The aim of the present study was to longitudinally assess BoNT-A’s effects on CD non-motor symptoms and to investigate the relationship between BoNT-A-induced motor and non-motor changes. Forty-five patients with CD participated in the study. Patients underwent a clinical assessment that included the administration of standardized clinical scales assessing dystonic symptoms, psychiatric disturbances, pain, sleep disturbances, and disability. Clinical assessment was performed before and one and three months after BoNT-A injection. BoNT-A induced a significant improvement in dystonic symptoms, as well as in psychiatric disturbances, pain, and disability. Conversely, sleep disorders were unaffected by BoNT-A treatment. Motor and non-motor BoNT-A-induced changes showed a similar time course, but motor improvement did not correlate with non-motor changes after BoNT-A. Non-motor symptom changes after BoNT-A treatment are a complex phenomenon and are at least partially independent from motor symptom improvement. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Screening for Predictors of Chronic Ciguatera Poisoning: An Exploratory Analysis among Hospitalized Cases from French Polynesia
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 646; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090646 - 12 Sep 2021
Viewed by 610
Abstract
Ciguatera poisoning is a globally occurring seafood disease caused by the ingestion of marine products contaminated with dinoflagellate produced neurotoxins. Persistent forms of ciguatera, which prove to be highly debilitating, are poorly studied and represent a significant medical issue. The present study aims [...] Read more.
Ciguatera poisoning is a globally occurring seafood disease caused by the ingestion of marine products contaminated with dinoflagellate produced neurotoxins. Persistent forms of ciguatera, which prove to be highly debilitating, are poorly studied and represent a significant medical issue. The present study aims to better understand chronic ciguatera manifestations and identify potential predictive factors for their duration. Medical files of 49 patients were analyzed, and the post-hospitalization evolution of the disease assessed through a follow-up questionnaire. A rigorous logistic lasso regression model was applied to select significant predictors from a list of 37 patient characteristics potentially predictive of having chronic symptoms. Missing data were handled by complete case analysis, and a survival analysis was implemented. All models used standardized variables, and multiple comparisons in the survival analyses were handled by Bonferroni correction. Among all studied variables, five significant predictors of having symptoms lasting ≥3 months were identified: age, tobacco consumption, acute bradycardia, laboratory measures of urea, and neutrophils. This exploratory, hypothesis-generating study contributes to the development of ciguatera epidemiology by narrowing the list from 37 possible predictors to a list of five predictors that seem worth further investigation as candidate risk factors in more targeted studies of ciguatera symptom duration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ciguatoxins)
Article
ExlA Pore-Forming Toxin: Localization at the Bacterial Membrane, Regulation of Secretion by Cyclic-Di-GMP, and Detection In Vivo
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 645; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090645 - 11 Sep 2021
Viewed by 561
Abstract
ExlA is a highly virulent pore-forming toxin that has been recently discovered in outlier strains from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. ExlA is part of a two-partner secretion system, in which ExlA is the secreted passenger protein and ExlB the transporter embedded in the bacterial [...] Read more.
ExlA is a highly virulent pore-forming toxin that has been recently discovered in outlier strains from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. ExlA is part of a two-partner secretion system, in which ExlA is the secreted passenger protein and ExlB the transporter embedded in the bacterial outer membrane. In previous work, we observed that ExlA toxicity in a host cell was contact-dependent. Here, we show that ExlA accumulates at specific points of the outer membrane, is likely entrapped within ExlB pore, and is pointing outside. We further demonstrate that ExlA is maintained at the membrane in conditions where the intracellular content of second messenger cyclic-di-GMP is high; lowering c-di-GMP levels enhances ExlB-dependent ExlA secretion. In addition, we set up an ELISA to detect ExlA, and we show that ExlA is poorly secreted in liquid culture, while it is highly detectable in broncho-alveolar lavage fluids of mice infected with an exlA+ strain. We conclude that ExlA translocation is halted at mid-length in the outer membrane and its secretion is regulated by c-di-GMP. In addition, we developed an immunological test able to quantify ExlA in biological samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Validation System for Selection of Bacteriophages against Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Contamination
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 644; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090644 - 11 Sep 2021
Viewed by 604
Abstract
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) can cause severe infections in humans, leading to serious diseases and dangerous complications, such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Although cattle are a major reservoir of STEC, the most commonly occurring source of human infections are food products (e.g., vegetables) [...] Read more.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) can cause severe infections in humans, leading to serious diseases and dangerous complications, such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Although cattle are a major reservoir of STEC, the most commonly occurring source of human infections are food products (e.g., vegetables) contaminated with cow feces (often due to the use of natural fertilizers in agriculture). Since the use of antibiotics against STEC is controversial, other methods for protection of food against contaminations by these bacteria are required. Here, we propose a validation system for selection of bacteriophages against STEC contamination. As a model system, we have employed a STEC-specific bacteriophage vB_Eco4M-7 and the E. coli O157:H7 strain no. 86-24, bearing Shiga toxin-converting prophage ST2-8624 (Δstx2::cat gfp). When these bacteria were administered on the surface of sliced cucumber (as a model vegetable), significant decrease in number viable E. coli cells was observed after 6 h of incubation. No toxicity of vB_Eco4M-7 against mammalian cells (using the Balb/3T3 cell line as a model) was detected. A rapid decrease of optical density of STEC culture was demonstrated following addition of a vB_Eco4M-7 lysate. However, longer incubation of susceptible bacteria with this bacteriophage resulted in the appearance of phage-resistant cells which predominated in the culture after 24 h incubation. Interestingly, efficiency of selection of bacteria resistant to vB_Eco4M-7 was higher at higher multiplicity of infection (MOI); the highest efficiency was evident at MOI 10, while the lowest occurred at MOI 0.001. A similar phenomenon of selection of the phage-resistant bacteria was also observed in the experiment with the STEC-contaminated cucumber after 24 h incubation with phage lysate. On the other hand, bacteriophage vB_Eco4M-7 could efficiently develop in host bacterial cells, giving plaques at similar efficiency of plating at 37, 25 and 12 °C, indicating that it can destroy STEC cells at the range of temperatures commonly used for vegetable short-term storage. These results indicate that bacteriophage vB_Eco4M-7 may be considered for its use in food protection against STEC contamination; however, caution should be taken due to the phenomenon of the appearance of phage-resistant bacteria. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Ciguatoxin-Producing Dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus in the Beibu Gulf: First Report of Toxic Gambierdiscus in Chinese Waters
Toxins 2021, 13(9), 643; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13090643 - 10 Sep 2021
Viewed by 639
Abstract
Ciguatera poisoning is mainly caused by the consumption of reef fish that have accumulated ciguatoxins (CTXs) produced by the benthic dinoflagellates Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa. China has a long history of problems with ciguatera, but research on ciguatera causative organisms is very limited, [...] Read more.
Ciguatera poisoning is mainly caused by the consumption of reef fish that have accumulated ciguatoxins (CTXs) produced by the benthic dinoflagellates Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa. China has a long history of problems with ciguatera, but research on ciguatera causative organisms is very limited, especially in the Beibu Gulf, where coral reefs have been degraded significantly and CTXs in reef fish have exceeded food safety guidelines. Here, five strains of Gambierdiscus spp. were collected from Weizhou Island, a ciguatera hotspot in the Beibu Gulf, and identified by light and scanning electron microscopy and phylogenetic analyses based on large and small subunit rDNA sequences. Strains showed typical morphological characteristics of Gambierdiscus caribaeus, exhibiting a smooth thecal surface, rectangular-shaped 2′, almost symmetric 4″, and a large and broad posterior intercalary plate. They clustered in the phylogenetic tree with G. caribaeus from other locations. Therefore, these five strains belonged to G. caribaeus, a globally distributed Gambierdiscus species. Toxicity was determined through the mouse neuroblastoma assay and ranged from 0 to 5.40 fg CTX3C eq cell−1. The low level of toxicity of G. caribaeus in Weizhou Island, with CTX-contaminated fish above the regulatory level in the previous study, suggests that the long-term presence of low toxicity G. caribaeus might lead to the bioaccumulation of CTXs in fish, which can reach dangerous CTX levels. Alternatively, other highly-toxic, non-sampled strains could be present in these waters. This is the first report on toxic Gambierdiscus from the Beibu Gulf and Chinese waters and will provide a basis for further research determining effective strategies for ciguatera management in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ciguatoxins)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop