The king scallop, Pecten maximus (L.), fishery is a valuable economic resource in the UK, and is reliant on supplying premium "roe-on" processed scallops to the continental market. A considerable degree of variability is observed in domoic acid (DA) levels among individual P. maximus and their body components, which complicates the management of the fishery during amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) events. This study examined the impact of professional processing and three differing laboratory preparation techniques on final gonadal DA levels. DA analysis was conducted using a LC-MS/MS procedure. The results demonstrate that different methods of preparation can significantly alter gonadal toxicities in scallops from the same site, and the extent to which DA within the digestive loop, which passes through the gonad, contributes to total gonadal DA. Mean gonadal toxicity attributed to the digestive loop contents was estimated at 4.7-24.7 mug DA g(-1). Despite large individual variations in toxin levels; in scallops with elevated gonadal toxicities resulting from higher digestive loop content toxicity, the effect of flushing out the contents of the digestive loop significantly reduced the DA content of the tissue and lowered the frequency of individuals harbouring levels above the 20 mug DA g(-1) statutory safety limit. Removal of the digestive loop contents can potentially result in an 87% decrease in gonadal DA burden. Furthermore, the method applied by professional processors effectively removed the contents of the digestive loop and reduced gonadal DA to levels comparable with the laboratory techniques. Deliberate contamination with scallop mucus did not increase gonadal DA levels. The extent of toxin variation resulting from differing gonad preparations demonstrates the need to standardize scallop tissue preparation techniques during ASP events. Consequently, detailed protocols aimed at minimizing the contamination of edible components should be developed and adhered to by both processing facilities and monitoring bodies. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
- Marine & Freshwater Biology