Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 890
Title: Comparative determination of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) using five different toxin detection methods in shellfish species collected in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Author: Pedro R. Costa, Keri A. Baugh, R. A. Wright, R. RaLonde, Shelly L. Nance, N. Tatarenkova, S. M. Etheridge, K. A. Lefebvre
Publication Year: 2009
Journal: Toxicon
Volume: 54
Issue: 3
Pages: 313-320
Keywords: paralytic shellfish toxins, paralytic shellfish poisoning, saxitoxin

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), a human illness caused by the ingestion of shellfish contaminated with paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), has been reported in Alaska for decades.  These poisoning incidents have resulted in losses to local economies due to shellfish harvest closures.  Thus the development of an effective biotoxin monitoring program designed specifically for the remote regions of Alaska would provide protection for public health and allow for a viable shellfish industry.  The present study provides data useful for the development of an effective toxin screening protocol by comparing PST levels quantified in shellfish by many of the currently available PST detection techniques.  Seven bivalve species were collected along beaches of the Aleutian Islands from June 2006 to September 2007.  The concentration of PSTs was quantified and compared using five different analytical methods:  the mouse bioassay, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), receptor-binding assay, the commercially available Jellett Rapid PSP Test strips, and an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay technique.  The Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC)-approved HPLC method proved to be valuable for characterizing the suite of individual PSTs in each species for research purposes, but was not considered practical for rapid toxin screening in remote Alaskan regions due to its time-consuming nature and requirement of expensive equipment and considerable expertise.  In the present study, Jellett test strips were shown to be an effective tool for rapid screening, however due to the high percentage of false positives, subsequent validation via AOAC-approved methods would be required to prevent unnecessary closures.

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