National Research Council of Canada. NRC Institute for Marine Biosciences
Increasing incidences of phytoplankton blooms with the potential danger of toxin release into the food chain have necessitated the search for new diagnostic methods that can detect toxins quickly and reliably. A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to quantitate okadaic acid in shellfish and phytoplankton extracts. To determine the specificity of the assay, a number of toxins, such as calyculin A, brevetoxin-1, and dinophysistoxins-1, -2, and -3 were analyzed. Both dinophysistoxins-2 and -1 could be detected by the assay but in concentration ranges 10- and 20-fold higher than that for okadaic acid, respectively. Dinophysistoxin-3, calyculin A, or brevetoxin-1 could not be detected with this assay. To validate the accuracy of the method, 18 mussel and 7 phytoplankton extracts were analyzed in parallel for okadaic acid content by ELISA and liquid chromatography combined with either fluorescence or mass spectrometric detection. Very high correlation between the results was found.