Detecting mussel toxins without lab animals

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By Milthon Lujan

The Netherlands.- Biotoxins in oysters and mussels can make you very sick, which is why the shellfish get thoroughly tested before they go on the market. Some countries still use mice for this. PhD student Marcia Bodero developed an alternative method for detecting both known and unknown biotoxins that does not use lab animals.

Shellfish such as oysters and mussels may contain toxins that can cause diarrhoea, and in severe cases paralysis or even death. ‘That’s why every batch has to be tested before it can be released for sale,’ explains Bodero. She received her doctorate on Friday 11 January; her supervisor was Ivonne Rietjens, professor of Toxicology.

Only known toxins

Before Bodero started her PhD, she worked for the Chilean food safety authority. ‘In Chile and many other countries, mice and rats are used for these toxin tests.’ Europe already has an alternative, the LC-MS/MS test, which was developed in Wageningen by PhD candidate Arjen Gerssen. It is used to detect lipophilic marine biotoxins. But the downside to this test is that it can only detect known toxins.

More information at: https://resource.wur.nl/en/science/show/Detecting-mussel-toxins-without-lab-animals-.htm 

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