Prof. Mohamed A. Omran
Faculty of Science, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
There are approximately 1200 species of toxic marine organisms ranging from the unicellular protistan Gonyaulax to certain types of chordates. Marine toxins are far more varied in their chemical composition than those of terrestrial animals. Clams and mussels may be toxic only during a particular period, or at a certain place, while the toxicity in tetraodons varies with the species of the fish, the organs taken and other factors. Some marine toxins are proteins of low or high molecular weight, while others are composed of lipids, amines, quinones, quaternary ammonium compounds, alkaloids, guanidine bases, phenols, steroids, mucopolysaccharides, or halogenated compounds. The pharmacological or toxicological activities of marine toxins vary as remarkably as do their chemical properties. In the Red Sea of Egypt, there are three major types of injury patterns from venomous and poisonous marine animals induced by contact irritants (e.g. Fire coral & Jellyfish), injected toxins (e.g. stingrays & Scorpion fish) and ingested toxins (e.g. Puffer fishes & tetrodotoxins).