Special Issue "Phycotoxins: From Producers to Transfer in the Food Chain"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine and Freshwater Toxins".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Eric Abadie
Guest Editor
Laboratoire Environnement Ressources du Languedoc-Roussillon, Centre for Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation (MARBEC), IRD, Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer), CNRS, Université de Montpellier, CS30171, 34200 Sete Cedex 03, France

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural toxins have been identified for centuries and have been widely studied. Phycotoxins produced by phytoplankton are composed of allopathic chemicals, most often produced as secondary metabolites. As part of their blooms, phytoplankton species are subject to competition among other things for access to nutrients, but also by the grazing action of micro and macro zooplankton as well as by planktivore species. To promote their development and minimize the impact of this competition, many species of marine or fresh water phytoplankton produce these biologically active metabolites, most often called phycotoxins. Flagellates and mainly dinoflagellates are known to be the main producers of these toxins. Other genera (e.g., diatoms, cyanobacteria) are also producers of toxins.

Beyond the described wide-ranging effects of these toxins on the human beings during the consumption of seafood or the practice of recreational activities, these phycotoxins generally have little or no impact on the producers, but do have a deleterious effect on many other microalgae and zooplankton species. In addition, these toxins are most often recognized as having the capacity to accumulate in organisms, and therefore to be transferred in the food chain causing ecological impacts on plankton and more broadly on ecosystems.

The aim of this Special Issue is to enable the publication of articles related to phycotoxins in marine and freshwater. The field of these studies also concerns producers and their ecophysiology, as well as the production mechanisms of these phycotoxins. The transfer and accumulation of these chemical substances in the food chain will also be an important aspect of this Special Issue. Articles dealing with new tools for monitoring these phycotoxins and their producers in ecosystems will be appreciated.

Dr. Eric Abadie
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Marine and freshwater biotoxins
  • H.A.B. ecophysiology
  • Toxin's production mechanisms
  • Food chain transfer
  • Ecosystem impacts
  • New tools for monitoring

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Interactions between Filter-Feeding Bivalves and Toxic Diatoms: Influence on the Feeding Behavior of Crassostrea gigas and Pecten maximus and on Toxin Production by Pseudo-nitzschia
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 577; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/toxins13080577 - 19 Aug 2021
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Among Pseudo-nitzschia species, some produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), a source of serious health problems for marine organisms. Filter-feeding organisms—e.g., bivalves feeding on toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia spp.—are the main vector of DA in humans. However, little is known about the interactions between bivalves [...] Read more.
Among Pseudo-nitzschia species, some produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), a source of serious health problems for marine organisms. Filter-feeding organisms—e.g., bivalves feeding on toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia spp.—are the main vector of DA in humans. However, little is known about the interactions between bivalves and Pseudo-nitzschia. In this study, we examined the interactions between two juvenile bivalve species—oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and scallop (Pecten maximus)—and two toxic Pseudo-nitzschia species—P. australis and P. fraudulenta. We characterized the influence of (1) diet composition and the Pseudo-nitzschia DA content on the feeding rates of oysters and scallops, and (2) the presence of bivalves on Pseudo-nitzschia toxin production. Both bivalve species fed on P. australis and P. fraudulenta. However, they preferentially filtered the non-toxic Isochrysis galbana compared to Pseudo-nitzschia. The presence of the most toxic P. australis species resulted in a decreased clearance rate in C. gigas. The two bivalve species accumulated DA in their tissues (up to 0.35 × 10−3 and 5.1 × 10−3 µg g−1 for C. gigas and P. maximus, respectively). Most importantly, the presence of bivalves induced an increase in the cellular DA contents of both Pseudo-nitzschia species (up to 58-fold in P. fraudulenta in the presence of C. gigas). This is the first evidence of DA production by Pseudo-nitzschia species stimulated in the presence of filter-feeding bivalves. The results of this study highlight complex interactions that can influence toxin production by Pseudo-nitzschia and accumulation in bivalves. These results will help to better understand the biotic factors that drive DA production by Pseudo-nitzschia and bivalve contamination during Pseudo-nitzschia blooms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phycotoxins: From Producers to Transfer in the Food Chain)
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