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LC-MS-MS method optimisation for determination of malachite & leuco-malachite green in farmed finfis

Project Reference: Synergy project

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: August, 2004

Project Duration: 12 months


This project addressed an important gap in food safety assurance in the marine finfish sector by developing and validating an LC–MS–MS method for screening and confirmation of malachite green and leuco–malachite green in farmed fish. These compounds have been widely used as a fungicide and ectoparasiticide in the fish farming industry. Although an illegal substance, there is still evidence of use due to low cost, efficacy and lack of a suitable alternative. Regulatory authorities have highlighted the need for greater capacity to monitor for these compounds, particularly in farmed salmon.

The output of this project has contributed to the sustainable development of the €50 million Irish finfish sector and therefore to overall consumer confidence in farmed finfish as well. The new state of the art LC–MS–MS methodology will provide rapid confirmation of positive screening samples and therefore ensure that contaminated seafood product will not reach the market. Additionally it will assist in the efficient follow up investigation and contribute to the elimination of the trade in these illegal compounds.

Principal Contractor(s):

Dr Peter Heffernan and Dr Evin McGovern, Marine Institute, Galway


Dr Pascal Sanders, Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments



Laboratory capacity building

Peer Reviews:

Dowling G, Mulder PP, Duffy C, Regan L, Smyth MR. Anal Chim Acta. Confirmatory analysis of malachite green, leucomalachite green, crystal violet and leucocrystal violet in salmon by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. 2007 Mar 14;586(1-2)

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