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Tetrodotoxin identified in polyclad flatworms of temperate Eastern Australia

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posted on 2022-10-12, 02:12 authored by Justin Michael McNab

Soft bodied marine invertebrates often possess bioactive secondary metabolites that they utilise in defensive or offensive contexts. These invertebrates utilise toxic secondary metabolites as chemical defenses and as venoms to enable them to become successful in their environments. The field of marine natural products often studies molecules isolated from invertebrates and one largely overlooked, yet prevalent group are flatworms of the order Polycladida. The potent neurotoxin tetrodotoxin is known to occur within this group in species of the suborder Acotylea, although its occurrence is only documented in polyclads from Asia and New Zealand. Herein, this thesis firstly reviews what is known about natural products isolated from polyclads from both Acotylea and Cotylea. Then, Australian polyclads from both Acotylea and Cotylea are tested for tetrodotoxin, to expand knowledge of this molecules distribution throughout the order. Finally, these results are discussed and future directions for study are given.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Review of natural products in polyclad flatworms -- Chapter 2. Isolation of Tetrodotoxin from Australian polyclads -- Chapter 3. General discussion -- References -- Appendices


Submitted: 22nd December 2020 as part of the requirements for completion of the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineeering, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Biological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jane Williamson

Additional Supervisor 1

Peter Karuso

Additional Supervisor 2

Jorge Rodríguez Monter


Copyright: Justin Michael McNab Copyright disclaimer:






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