Study of Adsorption and Flocculation Properties of Natural Clays to Remove Prorocentrum lima

Toxins (Basel). 2015 Sep 29;7(10):3977-88. doi: 10.3390/toxins7103977.


High accumulations of phytoplankton species that produce toxins are referred to as harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs represent one of the most important sources of contamination in marine environments, as well as a serious threat to public health, fisheries, aquaculture-based industries, and tourism. Therefore, methods effectively controlling HABs with minimal impact on marine ecology are required. Marine dinoflagellates of the genera Dinophysis and Prorocentrum are representative producers of okadaic acid (OA) and dinophysistoxins responsible for the diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) which is a human intoxication caused by the consumption of shellfish that bioaccumulate those toxins. In this work we explore the use of natural clay for removing Prorocentrum lima. We evaluate the adsorption properties of clays in seawater containing the dinoflagellates. The experimental results confirmed the cell removal through the flocculation of algal and mineral particles leading to the formation of aggregates, which rapidly settle and further entrain cells during their descent. Moreover, the microscopy images of the samples enable one to observe the clays in aggregates of two or more cells where the mineral particles were bound to the outer membranes of the dinoflagellates. Therefore, this preliminary data offers promising results to use these clays for the mitigation of HABs.

Keywords: Prorocentrum lima; adsorption; clay; dinoflagellate; flocculation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Aluminum Silicates / chemistry*
  • Bentonite / chemistry*
  • Clay
  • Dinoflagellida / isolation & purification*
  • Flocculation
  • Harmful Algal Bloom
  • Kaolin / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Seawater / parasitology*
  • Surface Properties
  • Water Pollutants / isolation & purification*


  • Aluminum Silicates
  • Water Pollutants
  • Bentonite
  • Kaolin
  • Clay