University of Tasmania

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Fate of paralytic shellfish toxins in southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) during cooking: concentration, composition, and distribution

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 15:11 authored by Alison TurnbullAlison Turnbull, Malhi, N, Tan, J, Harwood, DT, Madigan, T

Paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) producing microalgal blooms have a significant economic impact on the Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) fishery in Tasmania, Australia. The regulatory level of 0.8 mg of saxitoxin (STX) eq/kg in place for bivalve shellfish fisheries is applied to lobster hepatopancreas during blooms of toxic algae, resulting in harvest closures and ongoing risk management implications for the fishery. This cooking study was undertaken to inform a human health risk assessment, in conjunction with studies on the uptake and elimination of PST in J. edwardsii. Live lobsters in tanks were contaminated through consumption of PST-containing mussels harvested during an Alexandrium tamarense Group 1 bloom event. This resulted in a mean lobster hepatopancreas level of 2.83 ± 0.84 mg of STX·2HCl eq/kg. Other edible tissues contained negligible concentrations of toxin. PST concentrations in all tissues did not significantly change after boiling or steaming, although the amount of hepatopancreas available for consumption did decrease significantly with both cooking methods, because the tissue became more dispersed, resulting in an overall reduction in the toxin exposure per hepatopancreas consumed. The toxin profile was dominated by STX; gonyautoxin 2, 3; N-sulfocarbamoyl-gonyautoxin 2, 3 (C1,2); and gonyautoxin 5. No significant changes to the toxin profile were observed after either of the cooking methods. Pâté, bisque, and soufflé prepared from the hepatopancreas of toxic lobsters contained negligible levels of PST in each serving; on average, a serving of pâté contained 0.01 mg of STX·2HCl eq, whereas a serving of bisque or soufflé contained <0.01 mg of STX·2HCl eq. The findings of this study will inform a risk assessment of PST in J. edwardsii to determine risk management options for this fishery in Australia.


Publication title

Journal of Food Protection








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Int Assoc Food Protection

Place of publication

6200 Aurora Ave Suite 200W, Des Moines, USA, Ia, 50322-2863

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 International Association for Food Protection

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Wild caught rock lobster

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