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Newsletter October 2018

15 Oct 2018

AlertoxNet is a three year project funded by the European Regional Development Fund Interreg Atlantic Area program with reference [EAPA_317/2016, AA Network for introduction of Innovative Toxicity Alert Systems for safer seafood products - ALERTOX-NET]. The partners in the project are world leaders in the marine toxin research area and include both official monitoring laboratories, academic research centers and private partners. The 11 active menbers are the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Santiago de Compostela, at the Veterinary School in Lugo (Spain), that will be the coordinator, the Faculty of Sciences of the Unversity of Porto (Portugal), AZTi Foundation in Bilbao (Spain), the National University of Ireland in Galway, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea, in Nantes, CIFGA Laboratory, from Lugo, the Marine Institute of Ireland (Galway), the Queen's University of Belfast, UK, the Technological Institute for the Monitoring of the Marine Environment of Galicia (Vilaxoan, Spain), the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Paris, France), and the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Weymouth, UK).

The final purpose of this project is double: on the one side, to increase the awareness of the public about the presence of emerging toxins, on the other side, to provide technical solutions for faster and easier detection methods of emerging toxins, and integrate all this information in a network. What lies behind the project is the fact that climate change and contamination of waters are increasing the type to toxins in European coasts, the Atlantic coast having a specific profile that is different than the Mediterraneum. The presence of new toxins is due to the proliferation of microalgae that grows in larger numbers and in new geographical locations. Some of these toxins are well known from tropical areas, such as ciguatoxins, but others are increasing their presence in European coasts for reasons not yet clear, as it is the case of cyclic imines. There is one more toxin, unique in its ecological niche, namely tetrodotoxin, that has recently been identified as a mollusk toxin, when a few years ago it was only known as a fish toxin. This evolution of tetrodotoxn has been identified by some of the partners in the project, and it will also be a focus of attention in the project.

Overall, the goal of the project is to increase awareness and technical solutions to cope with an increasing toxicological problem.