Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean: Reconciling the Multiplicity of Ciguatoxins and Analytical Chemistry Approach for Public Health Safety.Toxins (Basel). 2023 07 10; 15(7)T
Ciguatera is a major circumtropical poisoning caused by the consumption of marine fish and invertebrates contaminated with ciguatoxins (CTXs): neurotoxins produced by endemic and benthic dinoflagellates which are biotransformed in the fish food-web. We provide a history of ciguatera research conducted over the past 70 years on ciguatoxins from the Pacific Ocean (P-CTXs) and Caribbean Sea (C-CTXs) and describe their main chemical, biochemical, and toxicological properties. Currently, there is no official method for the extraction and quantification of ciguatoxins, regardless their origin, mainly due to limited CTX-certified reference materials. In this review, the extraction and purification procedures of C-CTXs are investigated, considering specific objectives such as isolating reference materials, analysing fish toxin profiles, or ensuring food safety control. Certain in vitro assays may provide sufficient sensitivity to detect C-CTXs at sub-ppb levels in fish, but they do not allow for individual identification of CTXs. Recent advances in analysis using liquid chromatography coupled with low- or high-resolution mass spectrometry provide new opportunities to identify known C-CTXs, to gain structural insights into new analogues, and to quantify C-CTXs. Together, these methods reveal that ciguatera arises from a multiplicity of CTXs, although one major form (C-CTX-1) seems to dominate. However, questions arise regarding the abundance and instability of certain C-CTXs, which are further complicated by the wide array of CTX-producing dinoflagellates and fish vectors. Further research is needed to assess the toxic potential of the new C-CTX and their role in ciguatera fish poisoning. With the identification of C-CTXs in the coastal USA and Eastern Atlantic Ocean, the investigation of ciguatera fish poisoning is now a truly global effort.