Silva, M., Rodriguez, I., Barreiro, A., Kaufmann, M., Neto, A.I., Hassouani, M., Sabour, B., Alfonso, A., Botana, L.M. & Vasconcelos, V. (2019) Tetrodotoxins occurrence in non-traditional vectors of the North Atlantic waters (Portuguese Maritime Territory, and Morocco Coast).Toxins, 11, E306. DOI:10.3390/toxins11060306 (IF2019 3,531; Q1 Toxicology)
Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent alkaloid typically from tropical ecosystems, but in the last decade its presence has been more pronounced in the temperate waters of the Atlantic. In its last scientific opinion, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stressed the need for data regarding TTX prevalence in European waters. To address EFSA's concerns, benthic organisms such as mollusks, crustaceans, echinoderms and fish with different feeding habits were collected along the Portuguese continental coast, islands (São Miguel, Azores, and Madeira) and the northwestern Moroccan coast. A total of 165 samples were analyzed by ultra high performance liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS) and ultra high performance chromatography mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS). Geographical tendencies were detected as follows, by descending order: S. Miguel Island (Azores), Moroccan coast, Madeira Island and Portuguese continental coast. The toxin amounts detected were significant, above the Dutch limit value established in 2017, showing the importance and the need for continuity of these studies to gain more knowledge about the prevalence of these toxins, unraveling new vectors, in order to better assess human health risk. This work represents a general overview of new TTX bearers (7) most of them in gastropods (Patella depressa, Nucella lapillus, Onchidella celtica and Aplysia depilans), followed by echinoderms (Echinus esculentus and Ophidiaster ophidianus) and puffer fish Sphoeroides marmoratus.