Instrumental Methods for Paralytic Shellfish Toxins

  • Begoña Ben-Gigirey
  • Andrew David Turner
  • Ana Gago-Martínez
Reference work entry
Part of the Toxinology book series (TOXI)


Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) are naturally occurring marine compounds which in some instances result in significant consumer sickness following consumption of contaminated shellfish products. The toxins are found in shellfish grown in marine waters throughout the world, and many instances of human intoxication are reported annually. This chapter describes the evolution of instrumental analytical methods for the determination of PSTs in shellfish, in the context of the global move away from reliance on live animal testing for food safety testing. Key methods are described and assessed, describing the major aspects and challenges associated with each. Fluorimetric methods, particularly those conducted following liquid chromatography separation of toxin congeners, have been formally validated and in an increasing number of countries applied to official control monitoring of shellfish harvesting zones. While these provide a reliable alternative to biological assays, these methods are complex and are unable to detect all the currently known toxin threats. While capillary electrophoresis has shown some potential, the development of rapid chromatography, particularly in tandem with mass spectrometry, has shown perhaps the greatest promise for the development of reliable, accurate, rugged, and reproducible monitoring tools. Nevertheless, further work and interlaboratory validation studies are still required to ensure such methods are fit for purpose and continue to improve the quality of the monitoring conducted to mitigate the serious risk from these highly toxic compounds.


Select Reaction Monitoring Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Gymnodinium Catenatum Marine Biotoxin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Begoña Ben-Gigirey
    • 1
  • Andrew David Turner
    • 2
  • Ana Gago-Martínez
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory Marine BiotoxinsEuropean Reference Laboratory for Marine BiotoxinsVigoSpain
  2. 2.Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture ScienceThe Nothe Weymouth, DorsetUK
  3. 3.Department of Analytical and Food Chemistry, Campus Universitario VigoEuropean Reference Laboratory for Marine Biotoxins and University of VigoVigoSpain

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