A comprehensive risk management on human exposure to cyanotoxins, whose production is actually unpredictable, is limited by reliable analytical tools for monitoring as many toxic algal metabolites as possible. Two analytical approaches based on a LC-QTOF system for target analysis and suspect screening of cyanotoxins in freshwater were presented. A database with 369 compounds belonging to cyanobacterial metabolites was developed and used for a retrospective data analysis based on high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). HRMS fragmentation of the suspect cyanotoxin precursor ions was subsequently performed for correctly identifying the specific variants. Alternatively, an automatic tandem HRMS analysis tailored for cyanotoxins was performed in a single chromatographic run, using the developed database as a preferred precursor ions list. Twenty-five extracts of surface and drinking waters contaminated by cyanobacteria were processed. The identification of seven uncommon microcystins (M(O)R, MC-FR, MSer7-YR, D-Asp3MSer7-LR, MSer7-LR, dmAdda-LR and dmAdda-YR) and 6 anabaenopeptins (A, B, F, MM850, MM864, oscyllamide Y) was reported. Several isobaric variants, fully separated by chromatography, were pointed out. The developed methods are proposed to be used by environmental and health agencies for strengthening the surveillance monitoring of cyanotoxins in water.
- Liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry
- Non-target analysis
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