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Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) is one of the most common seafood-borne illnesses worldwide, with high prevalence in tropical and subtropical areas. CFP is caused by ciguatoxins (CTXs), which originate from benthic dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus, and are transferred through trophic levels, accumulating in upper-level reef fish. There are limited studies examining accumulation and depuration rates of CTXs in fishes, a critical knowledge gap in understanding the flux and fate of CTXs in coral reef ecosystems. This study focused on determining bioaccumulation and depuration rates of CTXs in the zebrafish, Danio rerio. A 21-day sub-lethal oral exposure was initiated in which 40 control fish and 50 experimental fish were fed control or standardized CTX feed daily. Fish were randomly sampled and euthanized (6/treatment) at the beginning of the experiment, and after 1, 3, 7 and 14 days. The 20 remaining fish were euthanized for histopathology on day 21. A depuration study was conducted following the same protocols with a 42 day exposure and a 63 day recovery period. Zebrafish were euthanized in triplicate per treatment at exposure days 35 and 42 and at eight intervals throughout the recovery period. Following chemical extraction, all fish were tested for CTXs using a cytotoxicity assay. This study revealed that zebrafish are capable of depurating CTXs, with CTX levels significantly decreasing 49 days post exposure, and undetectable 56 days post exposure. While these findings must be compared to coral reef fishes naturally exposed to CTXs, the possibility of toxin depuration in fishes provides hope for fisheries heavily burdened with CFP outbreaks.


Hunt, B. L., Skidmore College and Dauphin Island Sea Lab, USA,

Baltzer, K. L., Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of South Alabama, USA,

Robertson, A., Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of South Alabama, USA,


Poster presentation

Session #:021
Date: 03/03/2017
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Poster/Exhibit Hall

Presentation is given by student: Yes

PosterID: 213