Val Beasley, Wayne Carmichael, Wanda M. Haschek, Kathleen M. Colegrove, Philip Solter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Harmful algal blooms cause dead zones in water bodies or they may produce phycotoxins that directly or indirectly poison aquatic and terrestrial animals—including humans. Important phycotoxins include saxitoxins, domoic acid, brevetoxins, ciguatoxins, cylindrospermopsins, microcystins, nodularins, anatoxins, guanitoxin, lyngbyatoxins, aplysiatoxins, aetokthonotoxin, and palytoxins. Overfertilization, mismanaged animal or human wastes, burning fuels, reducing plant cover, climate change, dams, and water abstractions concentrate nutrients in water bodies, and shorten generation times of phycotoxin producers. Different phycotoxins cause neurologic, gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal, dermal, and immunologic toxicity, tumor promotion, and/or cancers. Diagnoses of phycotoxicoses are often based on exposure to a source, appropriate signs, clinical pathologic and/or gross and microscopic findings, and analyses of phycotoxins in source materials, digestive tract contents, and tissues. We recommend an updatable repository of information to underpin more effective diagnostics and treatments for poisoned individuals, as well as targeted management actions to remediate and prevent future HABs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHaschek and Rousseaux's Handbook of Toxicologic Pathology, Volume 3
Subtitle of host publicationEnvironmental Toxicologic Pathology and Major Toxicant Classes
Number of pages87
ISBN (Electronic)9780443161537
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Blue-green algae
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Cyanotoxin
  • Diatom
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Harmful algal bloom
  • Phycotoxin
  • Red tide
  • Seafood poisoning
  • Shellfish poisoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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