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Feasibility study on production of a matrix reference material for cyanobacterial toxins

Hollingdale, Christie, Thomas, Krista, Lewis, Nancy, Békri, Khalida, McCarron, Pearse, Quilliam, Michael A.
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2015 v.407 no.18 pp. 5353-5363
Cyanobacteria, anatoxins, aquatic ecosystems, biomass, dietary supplements, drinking water, freeze drying, freshwater, harvesting, hepatotoxins, lakes, liquid chromatography, livestock, microcystins, monitoring, neurotoxins, public health, quality control, risk, rivers, tandem mass spectrometry, temperature, water content, water supply
The worldwide increase in cyanobacterial contamination of freshwater lakes and rivers is of great concern as many cyanobacteria produce potent hepatotoxins and neurotoxins (cyanotoxins). Such toxins pose a threat to aquatic ecosystems, livestock, and drinking water supplies. In addition, dietary supplements prepared from cyanobacteria can pose a risk to consumers if they contain toxins. Analytical monitoring for toxins in the environment and in consumer products is essential for the protection of public health. Reference materials (RMs) are an essential tool for the development and validation of analytical methods and are necessary for ongoing quality control of monitoring operations. Since the availability of appropriate RMs for cyanotoxins has been very limited, the present study was undertaken to examine the feasibility of producing a cyanobacterial matrix RM containing various cyanotoxins. The first step was large-scale culturing of various cyanobacterial cultures that produce anatoxins, microcystins, and cylindrospermopsins. After harvesting, the biomass was lyophilized, blended, homogenized, milled, and bottled. The moisture content and physical characteristics were assessed in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the production process. Toxin levels were measured by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry and ultraviolet detection. The reference material was found to be homogeneous for toxin content. Stability studies showed no significant degradation of target toxins over a period of 310 days at temperatures up to +40 °C except for the anatoxin-a, which showed some degradation at +40 °C. These results show that a fit-for-purpose matrix RM for cyanotoxins can be prepared using the processes and techniques applied in this work. Graphical Abstract Blue-green algal reference material