Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry vol:407 issue:13 pages:3743-50
β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is an important non-protein amino acid linked to neurodegenerative diseases, specifically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because it can be transferred and bioaccumulated higher up the food chain, it poses significant public health concerns; thus, improved detection methods are of prime importance for the identification and management of these toxins. Here, we report the successful use of N-hydroxysuccinimide ester of N-butylnicotinic acid (C4-NA-NHS) for the efficient separation of BMAA from its isomers and higher sensitivity in detecting BMAA compared to the current method of choice using 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl carbamate (AQC) derivatization. Implementation of this efficient method allowed localization of BMAA in the non-visceral tissues of blue mussels, suggesting that more efficient depuration may be required to remove this toxin prior to consumption. This is a crucial method in establishing the absence or presence of the neurotoxic amino acid BMAA in food, environmental or biomedical samples.