Isolation and structure elucidation of ovatoxin-a, the major toxin produced by Ostreopsis ovata

Patrizia Ciminiello, Carmela Dell'Aversano, Emma Dello Iacovo, Ernesto Fattorusso, Martino Forino, Laura Grauso, Luciana Tartaglione, Franca Guerrini, Laura Pezzolesi, Rossella Pistocchi, Silvana Vanucci
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012 January 25, 134 (3): 1869-75
Since 2005, the benthic dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata has bloomed across the Mediterranean basin, provoking serious toxic outbreaks. LC/MS studies have identified a number of palytoxin-like compounds, termed ovatoxins, along with trace amounts of putative palytoxin as the causative agents of the O. cf. ovata -related human sufferings. So far, any risk assessment for ovatoxins as well as establishment of their allowance levels in seafood has been prevented by the lack of pure toxins. The present paper reports on the isolation, NMR-based structural determination, and preliminary mouse lethality evaluation of ovatoxin-a, the major toxic compound contained in O. cf. ovata extracts. Availability of pure ovatoxin-a will open the double prospect of fully evaluating its toxicity and preparing reference standards to be employed in LC/MS quantitative analyses. Elucidation of ovatoxin-a's complex structure will ultimately herald the understanding of the molecular bases of ovatoxins bioactivity.

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