Bioaccessibility of lipophilic and hydrophilic marine biotoxins in seafood: An in vitro digestion approach

Ricardo N. Alves, Maria Rambla-Alegre, Ana Catarina Braga, Ana L. Mauhrault, Vera Barbosa, Monica Campas, Laia Reverte, Cintia Flores, Josep Caixach, Jane Kilcoyne, Pedro Reis Costa, Jorge Diogene, Antonio Marque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study aimed to assess the bioaccessibility of different marine biotoxins in naturally contaminated shellfish and fish gonads using an in vitro digestion methodology. In general, hydrophilic toxins (domoic acid, paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins and tetrodotoxins) showed higher bioaccessibility than lipophilic ones (okadaic acid and azaspiracids). The bioaccessibility of toxins from the okadaic acid group ranged from 69% (raw European razor clams) to 74% (raw donax clams). Regarding azaspiracids, 47% of the initial content was bioaccessible in steamed blue mussel. As for hydrophilic toxins, 100% of the initial content was bioaccessible after digestion in raw shellfish and puffer fish gonads. The total tetrodotoxin bioaccessibility in puffer fish gonads decreased significantly after steaming. The profile of tetrodotoxins changed during the digestion process: TTX and 11-norTTX-6S-ol analogues decreased significantly after digestion, but the 5,6,11-trideoxy TTX analogue increased in both raw and steamed puffer fish gonads. These preliminary findings confirm the need to consider bioaccessibility data in future seafood risk assessment, as such information enables a more accurate and realistic estimation of potential seafood hazards, particularly in what concerns lipophilic toxins, therefore, constituting a crucial tool in the refinement of regulatory limits for the presence of biotoxins in seafood.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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