In a previous article, I mentioned about an ongoing experiment to identify the reason for my allergy to seafood. I wrote that my “seafood allergy” might actually be allergy to preservatives applied at various stages in the supply chain. Recently, I learned something more- that it might also be from ingesting contaminated seafood, or seafood contaminated with various diatoms (which tell about the quality of sea or marine water the seafood came from), viz.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning is caused by saxitoxins, a complex of neurotoxins produced by dinoflagellates which are assimilated and temporarily stored by bivalve mollusks such as mussels, clams and oysters.

Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning is caused by K. Brevis blooms also known as “red tides”.

Amnesic shellfish poisoning is caused by the phytoplanktonic diatom Pseudo-nitzchia multiseries which are the source of the toxic agent identified as domoic acid. This potent neurotoxin accumulates in mussels and clams that feed on toxic plankton during their bloom.

Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning is caused from ingesting mussels, scallops, clams and oysters contaminated with biotoxins produced by toxic marine dinoflagellates during their blooms in summer.

Azaspiracids shellfish poisoning is caused by azaspiracids, polyether marine toxins that accumulate in various shellfish species.

The fact that I’m not having any allergic reaction to the seafood here implies the marine waters here are relatively toxin- or diatom-free. Wow. I have to tell communities here this, just so to motivate them to not tire in maintaining their coasts and seas.

Literature review: Chee K Woo and Sami L Bahna, Not all shellfish “allergy” is allergy! 10 June 2011Clinical and Translational Allergy Journal, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology


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