Investigations in the Role of Bacteria/Dinoflagellate Interactions in Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (EU Project FAIR)
Molecular probes of high specificity to the microflora of selected dinoflagellate species were produced, in order to supplement the use of traditional microbial culture techniques in monitoring the progress of various treatments in removing dinoflagellate-associated bacteria. Depending on the success of the latter either axenic dinoflagellate cultures or those which have a limited defined bacterial population will be used to determine the influence of bacteria on toxin production of dinoflagellates. The techniques developed will also be utilised to determine the influence of natural bacterial populations on dinoflagellate toxicity. The work will be supplemented with TEM, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, to determine the physical association of bacteria at different stages of the dinoflagellates life cycle. The influence of bacteria on shellfish toxicity either through direct toxification or the ability to metabolise the PST toxins will also be evaluated. The frequency of occurrence of these bacteria in the environment and potential relevance to toxic events will also be determined.