Solid phase extraction for removal of matrix effects in lipophilic marine toxin analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

A. Gerssen, M. McElhinney, P.P.J. Mulder, R. Bire, P. Hess, J. de Boer

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The potential of solid phase extraction (SPE) clean-up has been assessed to reduce matrix effects (signal suppression or enhancement) in the liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC¿MS/MS) analysis of lipophilic marine toxins. A large array of ion-exchange, silica-based, and mixed-function SPE sorbents was tested. Polymeric sorbents were found to retain most of the toxins. Optimization experiments were carried out to maximize recoveries and the effectiveness of the clean-up. In LC¿MS/MS analysis, the observed matrix effects can depend on the chromatographic conditions used, therefore, two different HPLC methods were tested, using either an acidic or an alkaline mobile phase. The recovery of the optimized SPE protocol was around 90% for all toxins studied and no break-through was observed. The matrix effects were determined by comparing signal response from toxins spiked in crude and SPE-cleaned extracts with those derived from toxins prepared in methanol. In crude extracts, all toxins suffered from matrix effects, although in varying amounts. The most serious effects were observed for okadaic acid (OA) and pectenotoxin-2 (PTX2) in the positive electrospray ionization mode (ESI+). SPE clean-up on polymeric sorbents in combination with the alkaline LC method resulted in a substantial reduction of matrix effects to less than 15% (apparent recovery between 85 and 115%) for OA, yessotoxin (YTX) in ESI¿ and azaspiracid-1 (AZA1), PTX2, 13-desmethyl spirolides C (SPX1), and gymnodimine (GYM) in ESI+. In combination with the acidic LC method, the matrix effects after SPE were also reduced but nevertheless approximately 30% of the matrix effects remained for PTX2, SPX1, and GYM in ESI+. It was concluded that SPE of methanolic shellfish extracts can be very useful for reduction of matrix effects. However, the type of LC and MS methods used is also of great importance. SPE on polymeric sorbents in combination with LC under alkaline conditions was found the most effective method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1226
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • shellfish poisoning toxins
  • seco acid
  • azaspiracids
  • yessotoxin
  • toxicity
  • mussel
  • mice

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