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Proficiency studies on the determination of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in shellfish
Van Egmond, H.P.; Jonker, K.M.; Poelman, M.; Scherpenisse, P.; Stern, A.G.; Wezenbeek, P.; Bergwerff, A.A.; van den Top, H.J. (2004). Proficiency studies on the determination of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in shellfish. Food Addit. Contam. 21(4): 331-340
In: Food Additives and Contaminants. Taylor & Francis: London. ISSN 0265-203X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Van Egmond, H.P.
  • Jonker, K.M.
  • Poelman, M., more
  • Scherpenisse, P.
  • Stern, A.G.
  • Wezenbeek, P.
  • Bergwerff, A.A.
  • van den Top, H.J.

    Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins are produced by dinoflagellates. Shellfish filtering these unicellular algae will accumulate the toxins and pose a health risk when consumed by man. In the European Union, paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in bivalve molluscs are regulated at a maximum content of 80 μg/100 g (91/492/EEC). The current reference method in the European Union is the mouse bioassay, but alternative methods including the liquid chromatography methodology are preferred for ethical reasons. Analyses of suspected shellfish batches revealed, however, unacceptable differences in results reported by a small group of Dutch laboratories all using liquid chromatography methods with precolumn derivatization, followed by fluorescence detection. Therefore, a series of proficiency studies were undertaken among these laboratories. In the first three studies, participants were more or less allowed their own choice of method execution details. This approach yielded unsatisfactory results. A fourth study was then initiated in which a standardized method was mandatory. Two types of test material were used in the fourth study: lyophilized Cardium tuberculatum material containing saxitoxin (STX) and decarbamoyl-saxitoxin (dc-STX), and lyophilized mussel material containing dc-STX. The latter material was investigated in an interlaboratory study involving 15 participants and was considered as the reference material. Among the four laboratories, coefficients of variation (ANOVA) for C. tuberculatum material were 10% (n = 11) and 9% (n = 12) for STX and dc-STX, respectively, and for the reference material was 8% (n = 12) for dc-STX. The joint efforts showed that variability in analysis results between laboratories that all apply more or less the same method can be drastically improved if the methodology is rigorously standardized.

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