Feasibility of gamma irradiation as a stabilisation technique in the preparation of tissue reference materials for a range of shellfish toxins

P. McCarron, M.J.J. Kotterman, J. de Boer, N. Rehmann, P. Hess

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The effect of ¿-irradiation on concentrations of hydrophilic and lipophilic phycotoxins has been investigated by use of HPLC¿UV and LC¿MS. Pure toxins in organic solvents and toxins in mussel (Mytilus edulis) tissues were irradiated at three different doses. In solution all toxin concentrations were reduced to some extent. Most severe decreases were observed for domoic acid and yessotoxin, for which the smallest dose of irradiation led to almost complete destruction. For pectenotoxin-2 the decrease in concentration was less severe but still continuous with increasing dose. Azaspiracid-1 and okadaic acid were the least affected in solution. In shellfish tissue the decrease in toxin concentrations was much reduced compared with the effect in solution. After irradiation at the highest dose reductions in concentrations were between ca. 5 and 20% for the lipophilic toxins and there was no statistical difference between control and irradiated samples for azaspiracids in tissue. Irradiation of shellfish tissues contaminated with domoic acid led to a more continuous decrease in the amount of the toxin with increasing dose. The effect of irradiation on the viability of microbial activity in shellfish tissues was assessed by using total viable counting techniques. Microbial activity depended on the type of shellfish and on the pretreatment of the shellfish tissues (with or without heat treatment). As far as we are aware this is the first investigation of the effectiveness of irradiation as a technique for stabilising tissue reference materials for determination of phycotoxins. Our results suggest that this technique is not effective for materials containing domoic acid. It does, however, merit further investigation as a stabilisation procedure for preparation of shellfish tissue materials for some lipophilic toxins, in particular azaspiracids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2487-2493
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • domoic acid

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