A sensitive LC-MS/MS method for palytoxin using lithium cationization

Mirjam D. Klijnstra*, Arjen Gerssen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Palytoxin (PlTX) and analogues are produced by certain dinoflagellates, sea anemones, corals and cyanobacteria. PlTX can accumulate in the food chain and when consumed it may cause intoxication with symptoms like myalgia, weakness, fever, nausea, and vomiting. The analysis of PlTXs is challenging, and because of the large molecular structure, it is difficult to develop a sensitive and selective liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method. In this work, an LC-MS/MS method was developed to analyse PlTXs with use of lithium iodine and formic acid as additives in the mobile phase. For method development, initially, LC-hrMS was used to accurately determine the elemental composition of the precursor and product ions. The main adduct formed was [M + H + 2Li]3+. Fragments were identified with LC-hrMS and these were incorporated in the LC-MS/MS method. A method of 10 min was developed and a solid phase extraction clean-up procedure was optimised for shellfish matrix. The determined limits of detection were respectively 8 and 22 µg PlTX kg−1 for mussel and oyster matrix. Oysters gave a low recovery of approximately 50% for PlTX during extraction. The method was successfully in-house validated, repeatability had a relative standard deviation less than 20% (n = 5) at 30 µg PlTX kg−1 in mussel, cockle, and ensis, and at 60 µg PlTX kg−1 in oyster.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number537
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


    • Cationization
    • Mass spectrometry
    • Ovatoxins
    • Palytoxin


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