Molecular phylogeny, morphology and toxigenicity of Ostreopsis cf. siamensis (Dinophyceae) from temperate South-east Australia

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Journal Article
Phycological Research, 2016, 64 (3), pp. 146 - 159
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© 2016 Japanese Society of Phycology. Ostreopsis is a genus of dinoflagellates that includes species producing palytoxin and structurally related compounds. The distribution of Ostreopsis species in Australia is largely unknown, but they have been reported from north Queensland (18° S) to Tasmania (41–43° S). Ostreopsis spp. have been recurrently reported from estuaries around New South Wales, with persistent occurrences in Merimbula Lake inlet throughout the year. We isolated and characterized a strain of Ostreopsis cf. siamensis using light and scanning electron microscopy as well as molecular sequences of small subunit (SSU), large subunit (LSU) and ITS regions of ribosomal DNA. The strain grew significantly faster in low nutrient concentrations. Palytoxin-like compounds were produced by the strain, as determined by chemical analysis, and the LD 50 of the cell extract by intraperitoneal injection in mice was 25.1 mg kg−1. This is the first comprehensive molecular, morphological and toxicological study of an Ostreopsis species from Australian waters. Increasing reports of Ostreopsis from temperate waters suggest an empirical need to expand the knowledge of their diversity and distribution to aid aquaculture monitoring in Australian estuaries.
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