Innovative mode of action based in vitro assays for detection of marine neurotoxins

J.A.Y. Nicolas

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Innovative mode of action based in vitro assays for detection of marine neurotoxins

J. Nicolas, P.J.M. Hendriksen, T.F.H. Bovee, I.M.C.M. Rietjens

Marine biotoxins are naturally occurring compounds produced by particular phytoplankton species. These toxins often accumulate in seafood and thereby represent a threat to consumers. Regulatory limits have been set for lipophilic marine biotoxins (diarrhetic shellfish poisons (DSPs) and azaspiracids (AZPs)) and for most marine neurotoxins (amnesic (domoic acid (DA)), neurotoxic (NSPs), and paralytic shellfish poisons (PSPs)) and the detection of these biotoxins in seafood still heavily relies on the mouse bioassay (MBA). However, the MBA is forbidden since the 1st of January 2015, except for the periodic control of production areas, especially with regard to the detection of unknown marine biotoxins.

Although analytical methods are sensitive to many marine biotoxins and allow for their identification and quantification, their use still presents several major drawbacks (chapter 3). They do not allow the detection of unknown toxins for example and are quite expensive to be used as routine screening methods. Therefore, a screening assay that allows the broad detection of known and unknown marine biotoxins with great sensitivity at affordable costs is highly needed. Mode of action cell-based assays offer these possibilities.

This thesis describes a wide variety of innovative mode of action based assays that could be used for screening purposes and proposes an integrated testing strategy suitable for the current needs in terms of food safety associated with seafood consumption. In addition, the assays developed are in line with the 3R paradigm of Russel and Burch and therefore comply with the current European Regulation for the replacement of animal experiments in the field of marine neurotoxins detection in seafood.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Rietjens, Ivonne, Promotor
  • Hendriksen, Peter, Co-promotor
  • Bovee, Toine, Co-promotor
Award date7 Oct 2015
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789462574724
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • fish toxins
  • fish consumption
  • neurotoxins
  • food safety
  • food contamination
  • animal testing alternatives
  • food analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovative mode of action based in vitro assays for detection of marine neurotoxins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this