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Sensors (Basel). 2009;9(11):9414-43. doi: 10.3390/s91109414. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

Use of biosensors as alternatives to current regulatory methods for marine biotoxins.

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  • 1Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Universitario, 27002 Lugo, Spain; E-Mails: (N.V.); (E.S.F.); (M.C.L.).


Marine toxins are currently monitored by means of a bioassay that requires the use of many mice, which poses a technical and ethical problem in many countries. With the exception of domoic acid, there is a legal requirement for the presence of other toxins (yessotoxin, saxitoxin and analogs, okadaic acid and analogs, pectenotoxins and azaspiracids) in seafood to be controlled by bioassay, but other toxins, such as palytoxin, cyclic imines, ciguatera and tetrodotoxin are potentially present in European food and there are no legal requirements or technical approaches available to identify their presence. The need for alternative methods to the bioassay is clearly important, and biosensors have become in recent years a feasible alternative to animal sacrifice. This review will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using biosensors as alternatives to animal assays for marine toxins, with particular focus on surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology.


biosensor; marine toxins; seafood; shellfish poisoning; surface plasmon resonance

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