Discover the truth about Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

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According to the records of the Centre for Food Safety, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, there have been several Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) cases in Hong Kong over the past decade. 

Up to now, about 400 kinds of fish contain Ciguatoxins (CTXs). While in fact, toxic coral reef fish do not produce CTXs, but accumulate the toxin from feeding directly or indirectly on some toxigenic phenotypes of benthic dinoflagellates in the genera Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa instead. In general, the sea fish that often live in the coral reef for food (such as the potato grouper, the brown-marbled grouper, the humphead wrasse, and the leopard coral grouper) are more likely to contain higher concentrations of CTXs. 

CTXs are heat-stable, odorless and tasteless fat-soluble compounds that cannot be eliminated through cooking or processing, and eventually enter the body with fish to impact human nerve and muscle functions. CFP is originally an endemic disease between latitudes 35°N and 35°S. However, due to the development of international commerce in seafood, live coral reef fish in tropical and subtropical Pacific are exported to different markets for sale. CFP is currently a common type of marine food-borne poisoning worldwide.

In the paper "Regional comparison on ciguatoxicity, hemolytic activity, and toxin profile of the dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus from Kiribati and Malaysia”, Dr. Leo CHAN, the associate director of SKLMP, works with his scientific research team to present the region-specific toxicological analysis of Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa by cytotoxicity assay to investigate the regional differences in ciguatera poisoning risks and their toxin profile by mass spectrometric analysis, which greatly helps relevant scientific research get further development.

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