University Of Tasmania

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Paralytic shellfish toxins in Australian southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii): acute human exposure from consumption of hepatopancreas

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 15:10 authored by McLeod, C, Kiermeier, A, Stewart, I, Tan, J, Alison TurnbullAlison Turnbull, Madigan, T

Paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) were identified in the hepatopancreas of Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) during Alexandrium tamarense blooms in Tasmania, Australia. Human health risk from PST in lobsters was unknown – this study assesses exposure to PST from hepatopancreas consumption. Lobster hepatopancreas samples collected during blooms (n = 181) were mostly positive for PST (>88%), the highest concentration was 4032 μg STX-2HCl eq/kg. Consumer exposure to PST was estimated using a 2-D Monte Carlo model. Mean PST intake (pi) from hepatopancreas consumption (raw and cooked) was below the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) for PST (<2.0 μg/kg bw), however the 97.5th percentile pi for raw meals (2.64 μg/kg bw) exceeded the LOAEL. A total of 4.1% of raw hepatopancreas meals were estimated to exceed the LOAEL. Lobster hepatopancreas consumption during A. tamarense blooms may be concerning for a small proportion of consumers, particularly those that eat large meals at the bloom peak. However, when the model was re-run with PST concentration capped at the bivalve regulatory limit (800 μg STX-2HCl eq/kg) pi decreased, with the 97.5th percentile values below the LOAEL. Thus, issuing public health warnings and harvesting restrictions for lobsters when levels exceed 800 μg STX-2HCl eq/kg would reduce the probability of illness occurring.


Publication title

Human and Ecological Risk Assessment










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


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Wild caught rock lobster