A recent outbreak of poisoning resulting from the consumption of cultured blue mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) from a localized area in Eastern Canada has been attributed to the presence of domoic acid (1), a relatively rare neurotoxic amino acid, previously found only in some algae of the family Rhodomelaceae. Studies on aqueous extracts of shellfish tissue indicated that the toxin and several of its isomers could be separated (and isolated in sufficient amounts for subsequent structural identification) by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with ultraviolet (UV) diode array detection (DAD). Aqueous acetonitrile containing 0.1% v/v trifluoroacetic acid was used as mobile phase. As the retention time and characteristic UV absorption spectrum of 1 (λmax = 242 nm) permit unequivocal identification, the HPLC-DAD procedure was refined with a microbore column to provide a rapid (5 min), sensitive (0.3 ng detection limit) and reproducible assay method for the determination of 1 in shellfish tissue. Extraction was accomplished by boiling homogenized shellfish tissue for 5 min with distilled water. Extracts were taken through an octadecylsilica solid phase extraction clean-up prior to HPLC. This method has been applied to a variety of shellfish and phytoplankton samples.
Taylor and Francis
International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry36, no. 3: 139–154.