Neogen adds test for ASP-causing domoic acid in shellfish

September 07, 2010

Press Release
CONTACT: Nate Banner, Neogen Corporation, 517.372.9200

LANSING, Mich., Sept. 7, 2010 — Neogen has released a test that detects domoic acid, the naturally-occurring toxin found in shellfish that causes Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP).

This new lateral flow test to detect domoic acid in shellfish provides results in 10 minutes, and is the only lateral flow rapid test for domoic acid available in Europe. Reveal® for ASP is also the most reliable lateral flow test in the U.S., and is extremely sensitive compared to other tests on the market.

“This test is simple enough that you can use it on the boat when the fish are harvested, yet reliable enough that it can be used in a laboratory,” said Nate Banner, Neogen’s product manager.

Action limits for domoic acid were established soon after a domoic acid crisis in Canada where 150 people became ill and four died after eating mussels.

Many countries have established a maximum permitted level of 20 µg per kilogram of whole shellfish, or 20 ppm. Reveal for ASP detects 10 ppm of the toxin in shellfish.

Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning is caused by the naturally-occurring toxin domoic acid. Domoic acid has been found in shellfish on the west coast and in Europe, and is produced in microscopic algae that is eaten by the shellfish.

ASP is transmitted in humans by eating contaminated shellfish, and domoic acid cannot be destroyed by freezing or cooking the fish.

Symptoms of ASP include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps within 24 hours of ingestion. In more severe cases, neurological symptoms develop within 48 hours and include headache, dizziness, confusion, disorientation, loss of short-term memory, motor weakness, seizures, profuse respiratory secretions, cardiac arrhythmias, coma and possibly death.

Short term memory loss is permanent.

The European Commission Directive has implemented a maximum permitted level of 20 ppm of domoic acid in shellfish flesh for human consumption.