Detection of Tetrodotoxin Shellfish Poisoning (TSP) Toxins and Causative Factors in Bivalve Molluscs from the UK
In recent years, evidence has grown for the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX) in bivalve mollusks, leading to the potential for consumers of contaminated products to be affected by Tetrodotoxin Shellfish Poisoning (TSP). A single-laboratory validation was conducted for the hydrophilic interaction LC (HILIC) tandem MS (MS/MS) analysis of TTX in common mussels and Pacific oysters-the bivalve species that have been found to contain TTXs in the United Kingdom in recent years. The method consists of a single-step dispersive extraction in 1% acetic acid, followed by a carbon SPE cleanup step before dilution and instrumental analysis. The full method was developed as a rapid tool for the quantitation of TTX, as well as for the associated analogs 4-epi-TTX; 5,6,11-trideoxy TTX; 11-nor TTX-6-ol; 5-deoxy TTX; and 4,9-anhydro TTX. The method can also be run as the acquisition of TTX together with paralytic shellfish toxins. Results demonstrated acceptable method performance characteristics for specificity, linearity, recovery, ruggedness, repeatability, matrix variability, and within-laboratory reproducibility for the analysis of TTX. The LOD and LOQ were fit-for-purpose in comparison to the current action limit for TTX enforced in The Netherlands. In addition, aspects of method performance (LOD, LOQ, and within-laboratory reproducibility) were found to be satisfactory for three other TTX analogs (11-nor TTX-6-ol, 5-deoxy TTX, and 4,9-anhydro TTX). The method was found to be practical and suitable for use in regulatory testing, providing rapid turnaround of sample analysis. Plans currently underway on a full collaborative study to validate a HILIC-MS/MS method for paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins will be extended to include TTX in order to generate international acceptance, ultimately for use as an alternative official control testing method should regulatory controls be adopted.