Alternative methods for the detection of emerging marine toxins: biosensors, biochemical assays and cell-based assays

Mar Drugs. 2014 Nov 26;12(12):5719-63. doi: 10.3390/md12125719.


The emergence of marine toxins in water and seafood may have a considerable impact on public health. Although the tendency in Europe is to consolidate, when possible, official reference methods based on instrumental analysis, the development of alternative or complementary methods providing functional or toxicological information may provide advantages in terms of risk identification, but also low cost, simplicity, ease of use and high-throughput analysis. This article gives an overview of the immunoassays, cell-based assays, receptor-binding assays and biosensors that have been developed for the screening and quantification of emerging marine toxins: palytoxins, ciguatoxins, cyclic imines and tetrodotoxins. Their advantages and limitations are discussed, as well as their possible integration in research and monitoring programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Humans
  • Marine Toxins / chemistry*
  • Seafood / analysis


  • Marine Toxins