Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 406, Issue 22, pp 5303–5312 | Cite as

Validation of a confirmatory method for lipophilic marine toxins in shellfish using UHPLC-HR-Orbitrap MS

  • Gabriel Orellana
  • Julie Vanden Bussche
  • Lieven Van Meulebroek
  • Michiel Vandegehuchte
  • Colin Janssen
  • Lynn VanhaeckeEmail author
Research Paper


Lipophilic marine toxins are produced by harmful microalgae and can accumulate in edible filter feeders such as shellfish, leading to an introduction of toxins into the human food chain, causing different poisoning effects. During the last years, analytical methods, based on liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), have been consolidated by interlaboratory validations. However, the main drawback of LC-MS/MS methods remains the limited number of compounds that can be analyzed in a single run. Due to the targeted nature of these methods, only known toxins, previously considered during method optimization, will be detected. Therefore in this study, a method based on ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HR-Orbitrap MS) was developed. Its quantitative performance was evaluated for confirmatory analysis of regulated lipophilic marine toxins in shellfish flesh according to Commission Decision 2002/657/EC. Okadaic acid (OA), dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX-1), pectenotoxin-2 (PTX-2), azaspiracid-1 (AZA-1), yessotoxin (YTX), and 13-desmethyl spirolide C (SPX-1) were quantified using matrix-matched calibration curves (MMS). For all compounds, the reproducibility ranged from 2.9 to 4.9 %, repeatability from 2.9 to 4.9 %, and recoveries from 82.9 to 113 % at the three different spiked levels. In addition, confirmatory identification of the compounds was effectively performed by the presence of a second diagnostic ion (13C). In conclusion, UHPLC-HR-Orbitrap MS permitted more accurate and faster detection of the target toxins than previously described LC-MS/MS methods. Furthermore, HRMS allows to retrospectively screen for many analogues and metabolites using its full-scan capabilities but also untargeted screening through the use of metabolomics software.


Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry Lipophilic marine toxins Okadaic acid Commission Decision 2002/657/EC Azaspiracids Yessotoxins 



The authors wish to thank Mieke Naessens, Ine Opsteyn, and Dirk Stockx for their technical contribution to this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Orellana
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julie Vanden Bussche
    • 1
  • Lieven Van Meulebroek
    • 1
  • Michiel Vandegehuchte
    • 2
  • Colin Janssen
    • 2
  • Lynn Vanhaecke
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Laboratory of Chemical AnalysisGhent UniversityMerelbekeBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic EcologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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