Date of Award

Winter 2017

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Sterling Tomellini

Second Advisor

Christopher Bauer

Third Advisor

Madhumita Chatterjee


A hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS/MS) method was developed for the analysis of select paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins: decarbamoylsaxitoxin (dcSTX), neosaxitoxin (NEO), and saxitoxin (STX). The method employs a bare silica core-shell stationary phase and isocratic elution conditions to achieve chromatographic separation of the selected toxins. The HILIC-MS/MS method was applied to the analysis of sixteen mussel samples harvested from the New Hampshire coastline during the 2016 harvest season. Of these selected mussel samples analyzed, STX was detected in all of the samples; NEO was detected in two samples; and dcSTX was not detected in any sample. The calculated toxicity of the mussel samples ranged from 30-80 μg STX equivalents per 100 g shellfish meat. The method was developed and evaluated using three different mass spectrometers available at the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories: a Waters Quattro Micro triple quadrupole mass spectrometer, a Thermo Scientific LTQ linear ion trap mass spectrometer, and a Thermo Scientific LTQ Velos Pro linear ion trap mass spectrometer. The performance of these three instruments for PSP toxin analysis using the developed method was evaluated. Additional work will be required to extend the application of the method to other PSP toxins present in mussel samples.