Ciguatera risk assessment in two toxic sites of French Polynesia using the receptor-binding assay.

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2007
Authors  Darius, H. T.; Ponton, D.; Revel, T.; Cruchet, P.; Ung, A.; Tchou Fouc, M.; Chinain, M.
Journal Title  Toxicon
Volume  50
Issue  5
Pages  612-26
Journal Date  2007

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) is a tropical syndrome well known in remote archipelagos where the population is still dependent on fish resources. In order to assess the ciguatera risk in two islands of French Polynesia, Tubuai (Australes) and Nuku Hiva (Marquesas), a study was carried out on both Gambierdiscus populations as well as on various fish species using the receptor-binding assay (RBA) to detect and quantify ciguatoxins. Relationship between RBA data and size or weight of fish was evaluated, and when only few individuals for a particular species were available the trophic level was used to help comparisons between studied areas. According to epidemiological data, toxic versus safe areas were explored and compared in both islands. In Tubuai Island, Gambierdiscus cells were surprisingly absent in the north area, considered as a toxic area, but almost 94% of fishes were classified as RBA(+). In contrast, the south area, supposed to be safe, was evolving to be a risky area because of the presence of Gambierdiscus cells and 74% of fishes being RBA(+). In Nuku Hiva Island, Gambierdiscus cells were present in the toxic areas, Anaho, Taiohae and Taipivei, with two toxic blooms in Anaho Bay, but none in Terre Déserte, the fishing area of this island. With RBA data, fishes were analyzed to be RBA(+) at a high percentage in Anaho and Taiohae, higher than in Taipivei and Terre Déserte areas. In general, our findings were congruent with epidemiological data and the knowledge of local people only for risky fish species.

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