A mussel tissue certified reference material for multiple phycotoxins. Part 5: profiling by liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry


A freeze-dried mussel tissue–certified reference material (CRM-FDMT1) was prepared containing the marine algal toxin classes azaspiracids, okadaic acid and dinophysistoxins, yessotoxins, pectenotoxins, cyclic imines, and domoic acid. Thus far, only a limited number of analogues in CRM-FDMT1 have been assigned certified values; however, the complete toxin profile is significantly more complex. Liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry was used to profile CRM-FDMT1. Full-scan data was searched against a list of previously reported toxin analogues, and characteristic product ions extracted from all-ion-fragmentation data were used to guide the extent of toxin profiling. A series of targeted and untargeted acquisition MS/MS experiments were then used to collect spectra for analogues. A number of toxins previously reported in the literature but not readily available as standards were tentatively identified including dihydroxy and carboxyhydroxyyessotoxin, azaspiracids-33 and -39, sulfonated pectenotoxin analogues, spirolide variants, and fatty acid acyl esters of okadaic acid and pectenotoxins. Previously unreported toxins were also observed including compounds from the pectenotoxin, azaspiracid, yessotoxin, and spirolide classes. More than one hundred toxin analogues present in CRM-FDMT1 are summarized along with a demonstration of the major acyl ester conjugates of several toxins. Retention index values were assigned for all confirmed or tentatively identified analogues to help with qualitative identification of the broad range of lipophilic toxins present in the material.

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Michael A. Quilliam, Christopher O. Miles, Jeremy E. Melanson, Elizabeth M. Mudge, Joseph P.M. Hui, Daniel G. Beach, and William R. Hardstaff from the National Research Council of Canada are acknowledged for discussions on methods, assistance with identification of toxins, contributions to technical work, and for review of this manuscript. Håkan Emteborg of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) is thanked for his long-term contribution to, and support of, the CRM-FDMT1 project. Arjen Gerssen (Wageningen Food Safety Research, The Netherlands) is thanked for providing a list of known algal biotoxin variants. Alistair Wilkins (Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway, and University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand) and Craig J. Forsyth (The State University of Ohio, Columbus, OH, USA) are thanked for provision of standards. Many others have contributed to the planning, production, and certification of CRM-FDMT1 to this point and those efforts are gratefully acknowledged. Finally, we want to thank users of CRM-FDMT1 for the feedback we have received to date; this input is valued and welcomed on an ongoing basis.

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Correspondence to Pearse McCarron.

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Wright, E.J., McCarron, P. A mussel tissue certified reference material for multiple phycotoxins. Part 5: profiling by liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry. Anal Bioanal Chem 413, 2055–2069 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-020-03133-2

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  • Yessotoxin
  • Azaspiracid
  • Okadaic acid
  • Dinophysistoxin
  • Pectenotoxin
  • Spirolide