Scallops, delicious molluscs appreciated in gastronomy, can hide a dangerous secret: domoic acid (DA). This compound, produced by the diatom Nitzschia pungens, is highly toxic and can trigger a range of serious symptoms in those who consume it. These range from gastrointestinal problems to serious neurological complications.

Domoic acid is a neurotoxin that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms can manifest themselves within 30 minutes to 24 hours after ingestion of the contaminated shellfish. From minor complaints such as vomiting and headaches, to critical situations such as respiratory difficulties and coma, the range of effects is wide and potentially lethal. It is worrying to note that domoic acid, unlike many other contaminants, is resistant to both heat and cold, making it difficult to remove by conventional food preparation methods (such as cooking or freezing).

In Galicia, a region known for its rich tradition in fishing and seafood, the harvesting of scallops for direct fresh consumption is strictly controlled due to the high levels of amnesic toxin (ASP) that these molluscs may contain.

Cifga Laboratory is the first ISO 17034 accredited laboratory worldwide as a producer of certified reference materials for marine toxins. And, we are aware of pure Domoic Acid is required for performing the necessary controls in a reliable and traceable way.

In the images, we can see the first extraction steps of DA from scallops include: tissue homogeneization, treatment of homogenate with Methanol 50% and liquid-liquid extraction with the addition of dichloromethane. The aqueous-methanolic phase (upper layer) contains water soluble components including domoic acid, the dichloromethane phase (lower layer) contains lipoid moieties, and the interphase contains denatured proteins.

Contact us to get more information about domoic acid bulk formats.

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