National Research Council of Canada. Measurement Science and Standards
Rationale: Domoic acid (DA) is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in shellfish. Routine testing involves homogenization, extraction and chromatographic analysis, with a run time of up to 30 min. Improving throughput using ambient ionization for direct analysis of DA in tissue would result in significant time savings for regulatory testing labs.
Methods: We assess the suitability of laser ablation electrospray ionization high-resolution mass spectrometry (LAESI-HRMS) for high-throughput screening or quantitation of DA in a variety of shellfish matrices. The method was first optimized for use with HRMS detection. Challenges such as tissue sub-sampling, isobaric interferences and method calibration were considered and practical solutions developed. Samples included 189 real shellfish samples previously analyzed by regulatory labs as well as mussel matrix certified reference materials.
Results: Domoic acid was selectively analyzed directly from shellfish tissue homogenates with a run time of 12 s. The limits of detection were between 0.24 and 1.6 mg DA kg−1 tissue, similar to those of LC/UV methods. The precision was between 27 and 44% relative standard deviation (RSD), making the technique more suited to screening than direct quantitation. LAESI-MS showed good agreement with LC/UV and LC/MS and was capable of identifying samples above and below 5 mg DA kg−1 wet shellfish tissue, one quarter of the regulatory limit.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the suitability of LAESI-MS for routine, high-throughput screening of DA. This approach could result in significant time savings for regulatory labs carrying out shellfish safety testing on thousands of samples annually.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry30, no. 22: 2379–2446.