Investigation of animal and algal bioassays for reliable saxitoxin ecotoxicity and cytotoxicity risk evaluation

François Perreault, Marcelo Seleme Matias, Silvia Pedroso Melegari, Catia Regina Silva de Carvalho Pinto, Edmond Ekué Creppy, Radovan Popovic, William Gerson Matias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Contamination of water bodies by saxitoxin can result in various toxic effects in aquatic organisms. Saxitoxin contamination has also been shown to be a threat to human health in several reported cases, even resulting in death. In this study, we evaluated the sensitivity of animal (Neuro-2A) and algal (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) bioassays to saxitoxin effect. Neuro-2A cells were found to be sensitive to saxitoxin, as shown by a 24. h EC50 value of 1.5. nM, which was obtained using a cell viability assay. Conversely, no saxitoxin effect was found in any of the algal biomarkers evaluated, for the concentration range tested (2-128. nM). These results indicate that saxitoxin may induce toxic effects in animal and human populations at concentrations where phytoplankton communities are not affected. Therefore, when evaluating STX risk of toxicity, algal bioassays do not appear to be reliable indicators and should always be conducted in combination with animal bioassays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1026
Number of pages6
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioassay
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Ecotoxicity
  • Neuro-2A
  • Saxitoxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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