Evaluation of tetrodotoxins in puffer fish caught along the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Toxin profile ofLagocephalus sceleratus

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Although consumption of Tetraodontidae species is prohibited in the EU, intoxications are still reported. The evaluation of tetrodotoxins (TTXs) by mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS and LC-HRMS) and a screening immunoassay (mELISA) in tetraodontid fishes caught along the Western Mediterranean Sea revealed high concentrations of TTXs in Lagocephalus sceleratus while no TTXs were identified in L. lagocephalus and Sphoeroides pachygaster individuals. The high TTXs content found in the L. sceleratus analysed herein demonstrate the occurrence of highly toxic puffer fish in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Being L. sceleratus a recent invasive species in the Mediterranean, surveillance, risk assessment and risk management measures are necessary. The strategy used within this research work could be a valuable tool for future food safety monitoring.

Graphical abstract

Presence of tetrodotoxins (TTXs) in different puffer fish species caught off the Spanish coast (Western Mediterranean Sea) was evaluated by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The only toxic species was Lagocephalus sceleratus, a recently invasive species in the Mediterranean. The toxin profile was confirmed by high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS). An immunoassay (mELISA) also showed TTX presence, providing complementary functional information.

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