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Mussels accumulate marine biotoxins (phycotoxins) produced by certain phytoplankton species. In EU are set limits for toxin concentration (e.g. domoic acid, okadaic acid, yessotoxins etc.) beyond that mussels are safe for consumption. Marine biotoxins tend to accumulate in the digestive gland (hepatopancreas) of the mussel. Consequently, this tissue is preferred for toxin concentration determination. Normally the whole shellfish is consumed and therefore the occurrence data for phycotoxins need to be expressed in terms of whole shellfish meat. A theoretical factor of 5 is used to convert the value to whole shellfish meat. The aim of this study was to determine an empirical factor in order to convert phycotoxin concentrations from hepatopancreas to whole shellfish meat of main marine aquaculture in Bulgaria- mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. Wild and cultivated mussels were collected from the north Black Sea coast of Bulgaria in 2017. In total 13 mussel samples were studied whereas in each sample subsamples of hepatopancreas only and whole mussel meat are prepared. Phycotoxins were extracted for all types of phycotoxins by means of liquid-liquid extraction and their concentration was determined via LC/MS. Yessotoxins appeared in most of the samples and therefore seemed most suitable for empirical conversion factor determination. It is calculated as ratio between determined concentration in hepatopancreas and whole shellfish meat. Mean defined value was 5.36. Determination and application of empirical conversion factor is important when establishing very low concentration for chronic exposure assessment. It will be advantageous when taking into account interspecies differences and to avoid phycotoxin omission if preparing whole shellfish sample.
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