dinoflagellates and spondylus

Jean-Pierre Herveg herveg at bian.ucl.ac.be
Wed Nov 16 05:26:34 EST 1994


I am trying to find some scientific information on the the pathology of
spondylus poisoning due to consumption of fresh animal around the Pacific
ocean. This information is for a group of Archaeo-ethnologist, trying to
find the meaning of spondylus shell representation in religious
descriptions and its use in ritual sacrifices in Precolumbian Meso- and
South America. We are out of the field, but ready to enter it.

(1) Is there any pathology due to the consumption of dinoflagellates
that live as parasites or symbionts in spondylus shells?

(2) What is the pathology of this or those kind (s) of poisonning (s)? What
are the effects of the poisonous spondylus flesh, powder, etc. in small
doses?
Do they produce visions? Do they produce stupor, torpor etc? In other
words, could they be use in ritual? I think that their toxin could be
destroed by heat, so could these symptoms be produced by consuming the raw
matŽrial. 

(3) Is it true that dinoflagellates can be found in symbiosis with shell
fishes, fishes, crustaceans so that they could be present even outside red
tides? And that those hosts are protected against the dinoflagellate
toxins?

(4) Is The poisonned fish (fugu) that is consumed in Japan get its toxicity
because it contains symbiotic dinoflagellates, or does it elaborate it from
its own genome?

(5) Is it true that some japaneses are killed by the eating of raw fish
because they like the taste of the toxic part of the animal or is their
death due only to an absence of knowledge of the fish anatomy?

Does somebody have some reference on this subject? I use Current Content to
get some informations, but I only got cigueretoxin, saxitoxin and
brevetoxin  intoxication partial symptomatology. Are there other toxins?


Thanks a lot

Jean-Pierre Herveg, Louvain, <Herveg at bian.ucl.ac.be>



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