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Open AccessArticle

Improved Accuracy of Saxitoxin Measurement Using an Optimized Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay

1
Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28409, USA
2
Beaufort Laboratory, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
3
SeaTox Research Inc., Wilmington, NC 28409, USA
4
CSS Corporation, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Under Contract to Beaufort Laboratory, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA.
Toxins 2019, 11(11), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11110632
Received: 15 October 2019 / Revised: 29 October 2019 / Accepted: 29 October 2019 / Published: 31 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Toxins Detection)
Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is precipitated by a family of toxins produced by harmful algae, which are consumed by filter-feeding and commercially popular shellfish. The toxins, including saxitoxin, neosaxitoxin, and gonyautoxins, accumulate in shellfish and cause intoxication when consumed by humans and animals. Symptoms can range from minor neurological dysfunction to respiratory distress and death. There are over 40 different chemical congeners of saxitoxin and its analogs, many of which are toxic and many of which have low toxicity or are non-toxic. This makes accurate toxicity assessment difficult and complicates decisions regarding whether or not shellfish are safe to consume. In this study, we describe a new antibody-based bioassay that is able to detect toxic congeners (saxitoxin, neosaxitoxin, and gonyautoxins) with little cross-reactivity with the low or non-toxic congeners (decarbamoylated or di-sulfated forms). The anti-saxitoxin antibody used in this assay detects saxitoxin and neosaxitoxin, the two most toxic congers equally well, but not the relatively highly toxic gonyautoxins. By incorporating an incubation step with L-cysteine, it is possible to convert a majority of the gonyautoxins present to saxitoxin and neosaxitoxin, which are readily detected. The assay is, therefore, capable of detecting the most toxic PSP congeners found in commercially relevant shellfish. The assay was validated against samples whose toxicity was determined using standard HPLC methods and yielded a strong linear agreement between the methods, with R2 values of 0.94–0.96. As ELISAs are rapid, inexpensive, and easy-to-use, this new commercially available PSP ELISA represents an advance in technology allowing better safety management of the seafood supply and the ability to screen large numbers of samples that can occur when monitoring is increased substantially in response to toxic bloom events View Full-Text
Keywords: saxitoxin; neosaxitoxin; gonyautoxin; paralytic shellfish poisoning; ELISA saxitoxin; neosaxitoxin; gonyautoxin; paralytic shellfish poisoning; ELISA
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McCall, J.R.; Holland, W.C.; Keeler, D.M.; Hardison, D.R.; Litaker, R.W. Improved Accuracy of Saxitoxin Measurement Using an Optimized Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. Toxins 2019, 11, 632.

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