Rapid surface plasmon resonance immunobiosensor assay for microcystin toxins in blue-green algae food supplements

Tatiana Vinogradova, Martin Danaher, Andrew Baxter, Mary Moloney, Danielle Victory, Simon A Haughey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    A surface plasmon resonance (SPR) immunobiosensor assay was developed and validated to detect microcystin toxins in Spirulina and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae blue-green algae (BGA) food supplements. A competitive inhibition SPR-biosensor was developed using a monoclonal antibody to detect microcystin (MC) toxins. Powdered BGA samples were extracted with an aqueous methanolic solution, centrifuged and diluted in HBS-EP buffer prior to analysis. The assay was validated in accordance with the performance criteria outlined in EU legislation 2002/657/EC. The limit of detection (LOD) of the assay was calculated from the analysis of 20 known negative BGA samples to be 0.561 mg kg(-1). The detection capability (CCβ) of the assay was determined to be ≤ 0.85 mg kg(-1) for MC-LR. The biosensor assay was successfully applied to detect MC-LR toxins in BGA samples purchased on the Irish retail market. MC-LR was detected in samples at levels ranging from <0.5 to 2.21 mg kg(-1). The biosensor results were in good agreement with an established LC-MS/MS assay. The assay is advantageous because it employs a simple clean-up procedure compared to chemical assays and allows automated unattended analysis of samples unlike ELISA.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)638-43
    Number of pages6
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2011


    • Biosensing Techniques
    • Calibration
    • Chromatography, Liquid
    • Cyanobacteria
    • Dietary Supplements
    • Limit of Detection
    • Microcystins
    • Surface Plasmon Resonance
    • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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