Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26167627
Link to DOI – 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01900
Anal Chem 2015 Aug; 87(16): 8473-80
The development of rapid methods for unambiguous identification and precise quantification of protein toxins in various matrices is essential for public health surveillance. Nowadays, analytical strategies classically rely on sensitive immunological assays, but mass spectrometry constitutes an attractive complementary approach thanks to direct measurement and protein characterization ability. We developed here an innovative multiplex immuno-LC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous and specific quantification of the three potential biological warfare agents, ricin, staphylococcal enterotoxin B, and epsilon toxin, in complex human biofluids and food matrices. At least 7 peptides were targeted for each toxin (43 peptides in total) with a quadrupole-Orbitrap high-resolution instrument for exquisite detection specificity. Quantification was performed using stable isotope-labeled toxin standards spiked early in the sample. Lower limits of quantification were determined at or close to 1 ng·mL(-1). The whole process was successfully applied to the quantitative analysis of toxins in complex samples such as milk, human urine, and plasma. Finally, we report new data on toxin stability with no evidence of toxin degradation in milk in a 48 h time frame, allowing relevant quantitative toxin analysis for samples collected in this time range.