Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 13, pp 3743–3750 | Cite as

Improved detection of β-N-methylamino-l-alanine using N-hydroxysuccinimide ester of N-butylnicotinic acid for the localization of BMAA in blue mussels (Mytilus edulis)

  • Rudolf Andrýs
  • Javier Zurita
  • Nadezda Zguna
  • Klaas Verschueren
  • Wim M. De Borggraeve
  • Leopold L. Ilag
Research Paper


β-N-Methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) is an important non-protein amino acid linked to neurodegenerative diseases, specifically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because it can be transferred and bioaccumulated higher up the food chain, it poses significant public health concerns; thus, improved detection methods are of prime importance for the identification and management of these toxins. Here, we report the successful use of N-hydroxysuccinimide ester of N-butylnicotinic acid (C4-NA-NHS) for the efficient separation of BMAA from its isomers and higher sensitivity in detecting BMAA compared to the current method of choice using 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl carbamate (AQC) derivatization. Implementation of this efficient method allowed localization of BMAA in the non-visceral tissues of blue mussels, suggesting that more efficient depuration may be required to remove this toxin prior to consumption. This is a crucial method in establishing the absence or presence of the neurotoxic amino acid BMAA in food, environmental or biomedical samples.


BMAA Isomers Neurotoxin LC-MS/MS Improved derivatization Quaternary ammonium 



This project was supported by Charles University (SVV 260 065), European Social Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic (TEAB) project no. CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0235 and by project FAFIS no. CZ.1.07/2.2.00/28.0194. We thank Liying Jiang and Ulrika Nilsson for their helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudolf Andrýs
    • 1
    • 2
  • Javier Zurita
    • 1
  • Nadezda Zguna
    • 1
  • Klaas Verschueren
    • 3
  • Wim M. De Borggraeve
    • 3
  • Leopold L. Ilag
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and Analytical ChemistryStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Biochemical SciencesFaculty of Pharmacy of Charles UniversityHradec KrálovéCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of LeuvenHeverleeBelgium

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