Freshwater and Marine Toxin Analysis to Combat Contamination Events

Aquatic and marine biotoxins are naturally occurring chemicals produced by certain algae, planktonic, or other microfaunal communities. The sudden proliferation of these toxin-producing microorganisms is known as harmful algal bloom (HAB), which can occur worldwide and threaten those who consume contaminated water or seafood.

Biotoxins continue to cause growing concern and represent widespread effects of climate change impact on our aquatic and ocean environments. The combination of warm temperatures, sunlight, and nutrient-rich waters has created the perfect conditions for rapid proliferation of toxin-producing organisms. These HABs are a real and measurable threat to humans, wildlife, and the environment.

Consumption of even small quantities of these toxins could result in severe illness or death and are; therefore, highly regulated and routinely monitored. The key culprit — molluscan shellfish (shellfish with hinged shells such as oysters, clams, and mussels). As these shellfish consume toxin-producing algae, the toxin remains in their system and accumulate to hazardous levels.

Biotoxins have many challenges including the inadequate analytical methods for the sometimes-complex algal toxin mixtures due to:

  • Vast differences in toxicity between individual shellfish (such as the diversity of hydrophilic, lipophilic, ionic, and nonionic compounds)
  • The wide scope of matrices that must be monitored, like seafood, algae and drinking water
  • Varying detection and extraction methods
  • Cross-contamination and possible false positives

A Step in the Right Direction to Detect Marine Toxins
SCIEX offers solutions designed to tackle even your most demanding analytical challenges like marine toxins. Our innovative LC-MS/MS systems backed by verified methods and workflows will help you detect deadly marine biotoxins to ensure consumer health.

Solving the Challenges of Biotoxin Analysis

X500R QTOF System

Easy to use accurate mass spectrometer system that analyzes data faster; leveraging on the power of SWATH® Acquisition.


The all-in-one software that lets you acquire, process, analyze data and even generate reports.

Mycotoxins MS/MS Spectral Library

Trace commonly tested antibiotics and metabolite compounds with this verified library.

QTRAP® Technology

See how QTRAP Technology can make a difference with the monitoring of phytoplankton and other marine biotoxin metabolites.

ExionLC™ Series

Deliver speed, sensitivity, resolution, and reliability that you need for routine or complex LC-MS analysis.


Additional Resources  
Simultaneous Determination of 14 Paralytic Shellfish Toxins using LC-MS/MS on the SCIEX QTRAP® 6500+ System Download
High Resolution Quantitation of Microcystins and Nodularin on SCIEX X500R QTOF System Download
Quantitation of Microcystins and Nodularins in Water Samples Using LC-MS/MS Download
Chemical Labeling Strategy and LC-MS/MS Analysis of Amine-containing Neurotoxin in Shark’s Fins Download