Analysis of multiclass cyanotoxins (microcystins, anabaenopeptins, cylindrospermopsin and anatoxins) in lake waters using on-line SPE liquid chromatography high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry†
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) of cyanobacterial origin have the potential to generate hundreds of secondary metabolites referred to as cyanotoxins. Freshwater resources have been threatened by HABs and an increase of these episodes is of major concern worldwide for risk management and ecosystem impacts. To meet the need to rapidly screen a wide range of cyanotoxins, a multi-toxin method based on on-line solid-phase extraction ultra-high performance liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (SPE-UHPLC-HRMS) was developed and validated. This method enabled high-throughput screening of cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin-a, homoanatoxin-a, anabaenopeptins A and B, and twelve microcystins (-RR, [Asp3]-RR, -YR, -HtyR, -LR, [Asp3]-LR, -HilR, -WR, -LA, -LY, -LW and -LF) in recreational lake waters. Extraction and separation were achieved in 8 minutes, with limits of detection between 8 and 53 ng L−1. The method offered suitable precision for environmental samples (generally <20%), accuracy (81–113%), and low relative matrix effects (<29%). The method was used to analyze lake samples collected in Canada through a collaborative citizen-science project (Adopt a Lake campaign). The determination of 8 out of 17 targeted cyanotoxins from low ng L−1 to μg L−1 levels in these surface water samples showed the versatility of the method. MC-LR was detected in 75% of samples (0.03–3.5 μg L−1) and anabaenopeptins A and B in 38% of samples at concentrations of up to 10 μg L−1. A retrospective screening of extracted full scan HRMS chromatograms also suggested the presence of infrequently monitored MCs in these lake samples.