University Of Tasmania
129907 - qPCR assays for the detection and quantification of multiple paralytic shellfish toxin-producing species of Alexandrium.pdf (2.66 MB)
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qPCR assays for the detection and quantification of multiple paralytic shellfish toxin-producing species of Alexandrium

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 23:28 authored by Ruvindy, R, Christopher BolchChristopher Bolch, MacKenzie, L, Smith, KF, Murray, SA

Paralytic shellfish toxin producing dinoflagellates have negatively impacted the shellfish aquaculture industry worldwide, including in Australia and New Zealand. Morphologically identical cryptic species of dinoflagellates that may differ in toxicity, in particular, species of the former Alexandrium tamarense species complex, co-occur in Australia, as they do in multiple regions in Asia and Europe. To understand the dynamics and the ecological drivers of the growth of each species in the field, accurate quantification at the species level is crucial. We have developed the first quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) primers for A. australiense, and new primers targeting A. ostenfeldii, A. catenella, and A. pacificum. We showed that our new primers for A. pacificum are more specific than previously published primer pairs. These assays can be used to quantify planktonic cells and cysts in the water column and in sediment samples with limits of detection of 2 cells/L for the A. catenella and A. australiense assays, 2 cells/L and 1 cyst/mg sediment for the A. pacificum assay, and 1 cells/L for the A. ostenfeldii assay, and efficiencies of >90%. We utilized these assays to discriminate and quantify co-occurring A. catenella, A. pacificum, and A. australiense in samples from the east coast of Tasmania, Australia.


Fisheries Research & Development Corporation


Publication title

Frontiers in Microbiology



Article number









Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Frontiers Research Foundation

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2018 Ruvindy, Bolch, MacKenzie, Smith and Murray. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Aquaculture molluscs (excl. oysters); Aquaculture oysters; Wild caught crustaceans (excl. rock lobster and prawns)