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Development of a Prototype Assay for Azaspiracid Detection in Shellfish

Project Reference: 05-2007

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: October, 2007

Project Duration: 12 months


Azaspiracid is a toxin which has adversely affected the health of consumers who have eaten contaminated shellfish. It has been detected in everal parts of the world and in particular the coast of Western Europe including Ireland and Britain. There had been no means of performing rapid detection for the toxin, either in algal blooms or in shellfish meat. Regulatory laboratories, public health laboratories and the aquaculture industry had all identified a need to monitor for the presence of AZA toxins. The ability to detect the toxin in the early stages of contamination would permit the proactive closure of contaminated beds thereby arresting any risk of exposure and ill-health in consumers.

This project built on the analytical skills and stock of azaspiracid toxin that resulted from an earlier project (01-RESR-057). A rapid test based on a biosensor kit was developed which uniquely involved the production of an antibody to the toxin. The kit was able to detect AZA toxins at or below the regulatory limit.

Principal Contractor(s):

Prof Chris Elliott, Queen’s University Belfast


Prof Richard O’Kennedy, Dublin City University

Dr Ambrose Furey, Cork Institute of Technology



Laboratory capacity building

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