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BMAA extraction of cyanobacteria samples: which method to choose?

Journal article
Authors S. Lage
A. Burian
U. Rasmussen
P.R. Costa
H. Annadotter
Anna Godhe
S. Rydberg
Published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume 23
Issue 1
Pages 338-350
ISSN 0944-1344
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 338-350
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5266-...
Keywords Cyanobacteria , Diatoms , Extraction , Validation , β-N-Methylamino-l-alanine
Subject categories Biological Sciences


© 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg β-N-Methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA), a neurotoxin reportedly produced by cyanobacteria, diatoms and dinoflagellates, is proposed to be linked to the development of neurological diseases. BMAA has been found in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems worldwide, both in its phytoplankton producers and in several invertebrate and vertebrate organisms that bioaccumulate it. LC-MS/MS is the most frequently used analytical technique in BMAA research due to its high selectivity, though consensus is lacking as to the best extraction method to apply. This study accordingly surveys the efficiency of three extraction methods regularly used in BMAA research to extract BMAA from cyanobacteria samples. The results obtained provide insights into possible reasons for the BMAA concentration discrepancies in previous publications. In addition and according to the method validation guidelines for analysing cyanotoxins, the TCA protein precipitation method, followed by AQC derivatization and LC-MS/MS analysis, is now validated for extracting protein-bound (after protein hydrolysis) and free BMAA from cyanobacteria matrix. BMAA biological variability was also tested through the extraction of diatom and cyanobacteria species, revealing a high variance in BMAA levels (0.0080–2.5797 μg g−1 DW).

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