Analytical Science

Food and shellfish toxin testing

Keeping our food safe

Cawthron Institute is an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for marine biotoxin management and testing. Our microalgae and biotoxin laboratories are world class, and our research teams and marine consultants provide a strong network of expertise.

Marine toxin analysis

Cawthron has established itself as a premier lab for marine biotoxin testing by developing faster and more reliable methods of analysis using Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) instrumentation.

Samples tested by Cawthron are internationally recognised as being tested to the highest standards of quality and scientific excellence, giving customers the benefit of:

  • speed – results available next day
  • specificity – eliminates 'false positives', testing is exclusively for biotoxins 
  • sensitivity – ability to monitor levels of toxins below closure limits 
  • safety – early warning of toxin levels that are still well below health guidelines
  • selectivity – ability to determine levels of specific toxins (e.g., yessotoxins)
  • sustainability – testing does not require live animals.

Our highly-sensitive instrumentation methods will detect the following shellfish toxins:

  • amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) toxins 
  • diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxins
  • neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP) toxins 
  • paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins
  • yessotoxins (YTXs)
  • gymnodimines (GYMs)
  • azaspiracids (AZAs)
  • pinnatoxins (PNTX) 
  • spirolides (SPX)
  • tetrodotoxin.

Food contaminants

With our expertise and instrumentation we have developed methods for the detection of other food toxins and contaminants including:

  • DCD
  • melamine.

Please contact us for more information on these services.

Contact us

Contact us

+64 3 548 2319