Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin J. James


The impact of phycotoxins and mycotoxins on human and animal health are of important concern for worldwide authorities and the scientific community. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) techniques have been developed, optimised and validated for the analysis of these toxins.

Phycotoxins are potentially toxic substances, which are produced by marine phytoplankton and which may accumulate in shellfish or finfish. Azaspiracid poisoning (AZP) is a recently discovered syndrome that has been implicated in several incidents of human intoxications. A study was undertaken to examine the distribution of azaspiracids (AZA) in scallops {Pecten maximiis) and mussels {Mytiliis edulis). Domoic acid (DA) is an amino acid neurotoxin responsible for amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). A new protocol was developed and validated for the simultaneous determination of both phycotoxins in shellfish matrix.

Mycotoxins are generally considered to be toxic substances produced by certain types of fungi, which grow on plants of agricultural importance either before harvest or during storage. Trichothecenes are a group of naturally occurring sesquiterpenoids produced by Fusarium and other species. A new protocol was developed and validated for the rapid screening of seven trichothecenes in beer. A study of comparison using three different ionisation sources was also conducted with a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. Multiple tandem mass spectra of these compounds are often characterised by water and carboxylic acid losses fragments. Detailed MSn studies using the quadrupole ion trap (QIT MS) and time of flight (QqTOF) MS were undertaken in order to elucidate the fragmentation pathway for the mam trichothecenes.

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