Pigment profile and toxin composition during a red tide of Gymnodinium catenatum Graham and Myrionecta rubra (Lohman) Jankowski in coastal waters off Mar del Plata, Argentina

  • NG Montoya
  • R Akselman
  • MO Carignan
  • JI Carreto
Keywords: Gymnodinium catenatum, Myrionecta rubra, pigment profile, PSP toxin profile, red tide


Microscope observations of samples, collected in autumn 2003 during a red tide in the coastal waters of Mar del Plata, Argentina, suggest that the phytoplankton community consisted mainly of the chain-forming
dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum (89 000 cells l.1). However, the unusually high concentration of chlorophyll a (171ƒÊg l.1) and the relative abundance of alloxanthin (73%) among the carotenoid pigments measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
indicated that cryptophyceans predominated in these samples. Re-examination of Lugolfs preserved plankton samples under high magnification revealed the presence of a low number of recognisable individuals of the ciliate Myrionecta rubra, together with a high abundance
of cytoplasmic contents of their broken cells. Analysis of toxin composition of these samples by HPLC with fluorescence detection showed that, as in most of the G. catenatum strains reported from different geographical
origins, the toxin profile was dominated (82%) by the less potent N-sulfocarbamoyl toxins. However, the toxin profile of the studied G. catenatum population exhibited certain atypical aspects: it contained the toxins C1,2, GTX4, GTX2,3 and dcGTX2,3, while lacking GTX5, GTX6, C3, C4 and the recently described hydroxybenzoate saxitoxin analogues GC1.3. The toxin profile of this population differed from those
reported for Uruguayan strains, despite their geographic proximity. These results suggest that the observed G. catenatum bloom was a local event, which was not directly related to the transport of an established
population from the estuarine region of the Rio de la Plata. No harmful effects attributable to this red tide were observed on the Mar del Plata coast.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X