Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research

Other info

Reference: 2008-1/003
Acronym: ATLANTOX
Start date: January 2009
Duration: 36 months

Project details

Advanced test about new toxins appeared in the Atlantic area

Climate change and global temperature rising are imminent and irreversible and it directly or indirectly impact on the marine environment and consequently in human population that lives in coast areas. Marine ecosystems are under the effects produced by fluctuation in water temperature, which is responsible for the settlement of favourable ecological conditions for toxins reproduction. The increase in temperature causes the appearance of harmful algae, which carry toxins that ingested by fish and shellfish, are transmitted to humans when consumed, producing cases, increasingly frequent, of poisoning. Epidemics of poisoning by consumption of shellfish have grown lately as a result of the demand for seafood and shellfish increased trade.

Although the coast of the Atlantic area is not probably the most affected by the negative influence of climate change, with more pressing in warmer waters (such as Mediterranean), its effects are already visible and worrying, requiring actions to ensure optimum levels of food safety for people of this coastal area and to minimize further the impact of its consequences in other sectors such as fisheries or tourism. With regard to this issue, there are a number of toxins that have already been identified, studied and for which there is a legislation, detection methods, etc. However, recently it has been discovered in Portugal, a new toxic compound previously unknown, the Tetrodotoxin but also other less studied toxins such as Palytoxin and Ciclic Imines (for e.g. Spirolids). This fact makes imperative to develop studies in this area, as well as in other Atlantic Areas, in which this kind of toxins may possibly be present, places like the Cantabria and Galicia, and countries such as Ireland, United Kindom or France, where the marine aquaculture sector is very important and who share with Portugal the common ocean. The preservation of coastal areas and protection of their ecosystems is a primary purpose of the Atlantic Area Operational Programme , whose approach is taken by this project through carrying out research tasks that are promoted not only to the protection of marine environment, but also to provide guarantees in other fields related to marine activity, such as food safety.

The main objective of the project is to support and accelerate the development and introduction of a proper and efficient method of fast alternative controlling based on antibodies and functional tests for biotoxins.

The main idea of this project directly responds to the priorities and objectives of the Operational Programme of Atlantic Area. It establishes the need to protect coastal areas and its environmental quality, counteracting those factors that threaten the integrity of this marine environment within the same Operational Programme; in coincidence with the measures of this proposal for developing the following action (collected directly in this project):Design exemplary solutions and test methods among transnational partners to avoid coastline changing.

The preservation of coastal areas and protection of their ecosystems is a primary purpose for the Atlantic Area Operational Programme , whose approach is taken by this project through carrying out research tasks that are promoted not only to the protection of marine environment but also to provide guarantees in other fields related to marine activity, such as food safety.

- developing a reliable method of detection and control of marine toxins, which applies to the whole maritim zone of Atlantic Area.

- establishment of a collaborative network for the collection and analysis of samples of marine toxins in the Atlantic Area

- promoting the exchange of knowledge on the topic adressed by promoting, among others, the mobility of researchers in the Atlantic Area

- enhancing the suistanable management of marine resources in the atlantic coastal area

- encourage the adoption of transnational tools for protecting marine ecosystems

- avoiding negative impacts that the emergence of marine toxins exerts on the economies of Atlantic coastal areas linked to concepts of food security and tourism promotion.

CIIMAR responsible investigator: Vitor Manuel Oliveira Vasconcelos
Participating institutions: CIIMAR-Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental; Queen's University Belfast; Agri-food and Biosciences Institute; Cork Institute of Technology; CNRS-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; National Association of Fish and Seafood Cannery Manifacturers
Principal Contractor: USC-Universidad de Santiago de Compostela

Research groups

Research team

Funding

Programme / Funding scheme: Atlantic Area Operational Programme
Funding entity: European Commission/ERDF
Total funding: 1.839.463,37 €
CIIMAR funding: 138.033,43 €

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