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Pseudonitzschia seriata.jpg
Pseudo-nitzschia seriata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Chromalveolata
Phylum: Heterokontophyta
Class: Bacillariophyceae
Order: Bacillariales
Family: Bacillariaceae
Genus: Pseudo-nitzschia
H. Perag. in H. Perag. and Perag.

The genus Pseudo-nitzschia includes several species of diatoms known to produce the neurotoxin known as domoic acid, a toxin that is responsible for the human illness called amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). This genus of phytoplankton is known to form harmful algal blooms in coastal waters of Canada, California, Oregon, Washington State, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, and South America.

The general biology, physiology, toxicity and distribution of Pseudo-nitzschia species is reviewed in Bates and Trainer (2006),[1] Trainer et al. (2008),[2] Lelong et al. (2012) [3] and Trainer et al. (2012).[4]

Up until 1994, the genus was known as Nitzschia, but was changed to Pseudo-nitzschia because of the ability to form chains of cells with overlapping tips as well as other minor morphological differences.[5] The nomenclatural history is given in Hasle (1995)[6] and Bates (2000).[7]

Known species of Pseudo-nitzschia (44):

Light and electron microscope images of Pseudo-nitzschia species are shown at the Nordic Microalgae website.

Pseudo-nitzschia species that have been shown to produce domoic acid (16), although not all strains are toxigenic:


  1. ^ Bates, S.S. and V.L. Trainer. 2006. The ecology of harmful diatoms. In: E. Granéli an d J. Turner [eds.] Ecology of harmful algae. Ecological Studies, Vol. 189. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, p. 81-93. PDF; 181 KB
  2. ^ Trainer, V.L., B.M. Hickey, and S.S. Bates. 2008. Toxic diatoms. In: P.J. Walsh, S.L. Smith, L.E. Fleming, H. Solo-Gabriele, and W.H. Gerwick [eds.], Oceans and human health: risks and remedies from the sea. Elsevier Science Publishers, New York, p. 219-237. PDF 2.7 MB
  3. ^ Lelong, A., H. Hégaret, P. Soudant, and S.S. Bates. 2012. Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae) species, domoic acid and amnesic shellfish poisoning: revisiting previous paradigms. Phycologia 51: 168-216. PDF; 1.8 MB
  4. ^ Trainer, V.L., S.S. Bates, N. Lundholm, A.E. Thessen, W.P. Cochlan, N.G. Adams, and C.G. Trick. 2012. Pseudo-nitzschia physiological ecology, phylogeny, toxicity, monitoring and impacts on ecosystem health. Harmful Algae 14: 271–300. Publisher's abstract and link to PDF file
  5. ^ Hasle, G.R. 1994. Pseudo-nitzschia as a genus distinct from Nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae). J. Phycol. 30: 1036-1039. [1]
  6. ^ Hasle, G.R. 1995. Pseudo-nitzschia pungens and P. multiseries (Bacillariophyceae): nomenclatural history, morphology, and distribution. J. Phycol. 31: 428-435. [2]
  7. ^ Bates, S.S. 2000. Domoic-acid-producing diatoms: another genus added! J. Phycol. 36: 978-983. [3]

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