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Detection of Cyanotoxins in Algae Dietary Supplements

Reputable Mentor II
Reputable Mentor II
Audrey Roy-Lachapelle 1, Morgan Solliec 1, Maryse F. Bouchard 2 and Sébastien Sauvé 1,
Toxins (Basel). 2017 Feb 25;9(3). pii: E76. doi: 10.3390/toxins9030076.
Algae dietary supplements are marketed worldwide as natural health products. Although their proprieties have been claimed as beneficial to improve overall health, there have been several previous reports of contamination by cyanotoxins. These products generally contain non-toxic cyanobacteria, but the methods of cultivation in natural waters without appropriate quality controls allow contamination by toxin producer species present in the natural environment. In this study, we investigated the presence of total microcystins, seven individual microcystins (RR, YR, LR, LA, LY, LW, LF), anatoxin-a, dihydroanatoxin-a, epoxyanatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin, saxitoxin, and -methylamino-L-alanine in 18 different commercially available products containing Spirulina or Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. Total microcystins analysis was accomplished using a Lemieux oxidation and a chemical derivatization using dansyl chloride was needed for the simultaneous analysis of cylindrospermopsin, saxitoxin, and -methylamino-L-alanine. Moreover, the use of laser diode thermal desorption (LDTD) and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) both coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) enabled high performance detection and quantitation. Out of the 18 products analyzed, 8 contained some cyanotoxins at levels exceeding the tolerable daily intake values. The presence of cyanotoxins in these algal dietary supplements reinforces the need for a better quality control as well as consumer’s awareness on the potential risks associated with the consumption of these supplements.
1 Department of Chemistry, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada; (A.R.-L.); (M.S.) 2 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC H3T 1A8, Canada;
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