Journal article Open Access

Detoxification of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in naturally contaminated mussels, clams and scallops by an industrial procedure

Cabado, Ana G.; Lago, Jorge; González, Virginia; Blanco, Lucía; Paz, Beatriz; Diogène, Jorge; Ferreres, Laura; Rambla-Alegre, Maria

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) episodes cause important economic impacts due to closure of shellfish production
areas in order to protect human health. These closures, if are frequent and persistent, can seriously affect
shellfish producers and the seafood industry, among others. In this study, we have developed an alternative
processing method for bivalves with PSP content above the legal limit, which allows reducing toxicity to acceptable
levels. A modification of the PSP detoxifying procedure stablished by Decision 96/77/EC of the
European Union in Acanthocardia tuberculata, was developed and implemented for PSP elimination in other
bivalves species. The procedure was applied to 6 batches of mussels, 2 batches of clams and 2 batches of scallops,
achieving detoxification rates of around 85%. A viable industrial protocol which allows the transformation of a
product at risk into a safe product was developed. Although a significant reduction was obtained, in a sample
circa 9000 μg STX diHCl equiv/kg, the final toxin level in these highly toxic mussels did not fall below the
European limit. The processing protocol described may be applied efficiently to mussels, clams and scallops and
it may be a major solution to counteract the closure of shellfish harvesting areas, especially if persistent.

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