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The red tide is the common name for a natural phenomenon that is characterized by producing a change in the coloration of the seas or any other body of water due to the proliferation of one or different species of marine microalgae, although not always this change in coloration is produced. Therefore, the name Harmful Algae Bloom is more accurate.
CIFGA makes available to the control laboratories, as well as to the entities involved in the production chain, the necessary tools (standards and reference materials) to carry out regulatory and monitoring analysis, and quantify whether the presence of toxins caused during the phenomenon of " red tides "allows or not the extraction and placing on the market of molluscs.
To carry out these analyses, it is necessary to have the standard or reference material that allows comparing the results with the real samples. At CIFGA we are producers of these materials and we have extensive experience in marine toxins. We are specialized in the cultivation of microalgae, cyanobacteria and fungi for the extraction of biotoxins and we have been one of the first companies in Spain to obtain the accreditation of the ISO17034 standard for the production of certified materials and the only one in marine biotoxins worldwide.
It should be noted that there are different types of marine toxins causative of diseases, being the main ones: ASP (Amnesic Shellfish Poison), DSP (Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison), and PSP (Paralytic Shellfish Poison). The most common toxins include domoic acid, responsible of ASP, saxitoxins and gonyatoxins, which cause paralyzing-type poisoning; okadaic acid and dinophysistoxins, with diarrhetic effects; and yessotoxins and azaspiracids, which are linked toxins but without that effect. Ciguatoxins, provoking Ciguatera are also quite frequent, especially in tropical and subtropical areas, although they are also an emerging disease in more temperate waters, as in Europe. In the same way, tetrodotoxins, usually related to the pufferfish (or fugu), is widespread in Asia and Indo-Pacific regions, but these neurotoxic toxins have been also found on molluscs in Europe, resulting in a potential new threat to be considered.
One of our clients, INTECMAR (Instituto Tecnolóxico para o Control do Medio Mariño de Galicia), is in charge of complying with current legislation on the quality of production of molluscs and other marine organisms and helping to protect and improve the quality of the marine environment. In this case, its activity is focused on monitoring, controlling and investigating the environmental quality of Galicia's coastal waters, having developed a leader Program of sampling, monitoring and control of marine resources
Every day they make a huge effort in transparency and communication publishing a report on the State of the Culture Zones that allows knowing the current situation of the Bivalve Mollusc Production zones in Galicia, for each of the legislated group of toxins, as well as the administrative situation of each one of them.
The red tides are potentially dangerous for humans as well as for various marine species. This is because the toxins produced can be accumulated in the flesh of molluscs and seafood, therefore entering in the food web and making their consumption dangerous.
For this reason, it is inadvisable to eat this type of food before all the necessary analyses are carried out to confirm that these toxins are not present at unsafe levels. It is therefore very important not to consume products that have not been purchased through legal channels, and to require that they include the relevant certificates to be placed into the market.