Five Years Monitoring the Emergence of Unregulated Toxins in Shellfish in France (EMERGTOX 2018–2022)

Shellfish accumulate microalgal toxins, which can make them unsafe for human consumption. In France, in accordance with EU regulations, three groups of marine toxins are currently under official monitoring: lipophilic toxins, saxitoxins, and domoic acid. Other unregulated toxin groups are also present in European shellfish, including emerging lipophilic and hydrophilic marine toxins (e.g., pinnatoxins, brevetoxins) and the neurotoxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA). To acquire data on emerging toxins in France, the monitoring program EMERGTOX was set up along the French coasts in 2018. Three new broad-spectrum LC-MS/MS methods were developed to quantify regulated and unregulated lipophilic and hydrophilic toxins and the BMAA group in shellfish (bivalve mollusks and gastropods). A single-laboratory validation of each of these methods was performed. Additionally, these specific, reliable, and sensitive operating procedures allowed the detection of groups of EU unregulated toxins in shellfish samples from French coasts: spirolides (SPX-13-DesMeC, SPX-DesMeD), pinnatoxins (PnTX-G, PnTX-A), gymnodimines (GYM-A), brevetoxins (BTX-2, BTX-3), microcystins (dmMC-RR, MC-RR), anatoxin, cylindrospermopsin and BMAA/DAB. Here, we present essentially the results of the unregulated toxins obtained from the French EMERGTOX monitoring plan during the past five years (2018–2022). Based on our findings, we outline future needs for monitoring to protect consumers from emerging unregulated toxins.


shellfish, brevetoxins, cyclic imines, cyanotoxins, BMAA, LC-MS/MS

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Amzil Zouher, Derrien Amelie, Terre Terrillon Aouregan, Savar Veronique, Bertin Thomas, Peyrat Marion, Duval Audrey, Lhaute Korian, Arnich Nathalie, Hort Vincent, Nicoals Marina (2023). Five Years Monitoring the Emergence of Unregulated Toxins in Shellfish in France (EMERGTOX 2018–2022). Marine Drugs. 21 (8). 435 (23p.).,

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