Research by the NRL for Marine Biotoxins
Marine biotoxins are formed by certain types of algae. These toxins may also accumulate in mussel tissue and, after consumption, by humans trigger diarrhoea or paralysis which may prove fatal in severe cases. For that reason, mussels are examined to determine they are safe before they are released for distribution or consumption.
The EU reference method for testing for marine biotoxins is the mouse bioassay. This animal experiment is only used in Germany for animal welfare reasons when alternative methods are unable to provide a reliable result.
The focus of research by the BfR "National Reference Laboratory for Marine Biotoxins" is on the development and validation of reliable, sensitive chemical-analytical methods which can completely replace animal experiments. The following projects are underway:
- Development and validation of multitoxin methods for identifying DSP and PSP toxins
- Isolation of algae toxins in the DSP group which are not currently available as standard material