Domoic acid (DA) is a potent toxin produced by bloom-forming phytoplankton in the genus Pseudo-nitzschia, which is responsible for causing amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) in humans. ASP symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and in more severe cases confusion, loss of memory, disorientation, and even coma or death. This paper describes the development and validation of a rapid, sensitive, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay test kit for detecting DA using a monoclonal antibody. The assay gives equivalent results to those obtained using standard high performance liquid chromatography, fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl high performance liquid chromatography, or liquid chromatography—mass spectrometry methods. It has a linear range from 0.1–3 ppb and was used successfully to measure DA in razor clams, mussels, scallops, and phytoplankton. The assay requires approximately 1.5 h to complete and has a standard 96-well format where each strip of eight wells is removable and can be stored at 4°C until needed. The first two wells of each strip serve as an internal control eliminating the need to run a standard curve. This allows as few as 3 or as many as 36 duplicate samples to be run at a time enabling real-time sample processing and limiting degradation of DA, which can occur during storage. There was minimal cross-reactivity in this assay with glutamine, glutamic acid, kainic acid, epi- or iso-DA. This accurate, rapid, cost-effective, assay offers environmental managers and public health officials an effective tool for monitoring DA concentrations in environment samples.
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Vol. 27 • No. 5