Biological methods for marine toxin detection
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The presence of marine toxins in seafood poses a health risk to human consumers which has prompted the regulation of the maximum content of marine toxins in seafood in the legislations of many countries. Most marine toxin groups are detected by animal bioassays worldwide. Although this method has well known ethical and technical drawbacks, it is the official detection method for all regulated phycotoxins except domoic acid. Much effort by the scientific and regulatory communities has been focused on the development of alternative techniques that enable the substitution or reduction of bioassays; some of these have recently been included in the official detection method list. During the last two decades several biological methods including use of biosensors have been adapted for detection of marine toxins. The main advances in marine toxin detection using this kind of technique are reviewed. Biological methods offer interesting possibilities for reduction of the number of biosassays and a very promising future of new developments.