Ciguatoxin (CTX) is one of the most dangerous red tide biotoxins. Its main source of toxin production is the toxic Gambierdiscus toxicus, Prorocentrum lima, Pyrocystis, and subtropical benthic microalgae species. When coral fish eat toxic algae, they can accumulate in the fish. It is harmless to the fish itself. It is transmitted and enriched through the food chain and becomes a more toxic toxin after biological oxidation and metabolism. Since toxins will be enriched through the food chain, the larger the fish, the higher the toxins it contains. Three types of ciguatoxin have been found, namely Pacific ciguatoxin, Caribbean ciguatoxin, and Indian ciguatoxin. In terms of quantity and toxicity, ciguatoxin is one of the most toxic toxins known to mammals. There is evidence that due to the migration of fish and the expansion of trade in fish products, ciguatoxin has affected many areas and has become a major obstacle to fishery economic development and public health.
Fig. 1 The chemical structures of the
four major ciguatoxin congeners (Tsumuraya, T.; Hirama, M., 2019)
CTX is a fat-soluble high-ether substance, colorless, odorless, insoluble in water, heat-resistant, and not easily destroyed by gastric acid. Ciguatoxin is not dangerous to the fish themselves. The toxins will accumulate slowly. The harm caused by ciguatoxin to the human body is mainly caused by eating fish containing ciguatoxin. The toxin has been isolated from more than 400 kinds of fish, causing a huge safety hazard to human food. According to reports, the average number of ciguatoxin poisonings that occur every year exceeds 50,000. In Hawaii and Florida, ciguatoxin has even affected the development of the local fishing industry. In order to ensure food safety, prevent ciguatoxin from causing human poisoning, and monitor the pollution of ciguatoxin to local fisheries, as a fast and efficient immunoassay method, ELISA has long been used to detect the content of ciguatoxin in fish products.
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