Occurrence of cyclic imines in European commercial seafood and consumers risk assessment
Cyclic imines constitute a quite recently discovered group of marine biotoxins that act on neural receptors and that bioaccumulate in seafood. They are grouped together due to the imino group functioning as their common pharmacore, responsible for acute neurotoxicity in mice. Cyclic imines (CIs) have not been linked yet to human poisoning and are not regulated in the European Union (EU), although the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requires more data to perform conclusive risk assessment for consumers. Several commercial samples of bivalves including raw and processed samples from eight countries (Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands and Denmark) were obtained over 2 years. Emerging cyclic imine concentrations in all the samples were analysed on a LC-3200QTRAP and LC-HRMS QExactive mass spectrometer. In shellfish, two CIs, pinnatoxin G (PnTX-G) and 13-desmethylspirolide C (SPX-1) were found at low concentrations (0.1–12 μg/kg PnTX-G and 26–66 μg/kg SPX-1), while gymnodimines and pteriatoxins were not detected in commercial (raw and processed) samples. In summary, SPX-1 (n: 47) and PnTX-G (n: 96) were detected in 9.4% and 4.2% of the samples, respectively, at concentrations higher than the limit of quantification (LOQ), and in 7.3% and 31.2% of the samples at concentrations lower than the LOQ (25 μg/kg for SPX-1 and 3 μg/kg for PnTX-G), respectively. For the detected cyclic imines, the average exposure and the 95th percentile were calculated. The results obtained indicate that it is unlikely that a potential health risk exists through the seafood diet for CIs in the EU. However, further information about CIs is necessary in order to perform a conclusive risk assessment.