The Solid Phase Adsorption Toxin Tracking (SPATT) technology, first introduced in 2004, uses porous synthetic resins capable of passively adsorbing toxins produced by harmful microalgae or cyanobacteria and dissolved in the water. This method allows for the detection of toxic compounds directly in the water column and offers numerous advantages over current monitoring techniques (e.g., shellfish or fish testing and microalgae/cyanobacteria cell detection), despite some limitations. Numerous laboratory and field studies, testing different adsorbent substrates of which Diaion®
HP20 resin appears to be the most versatile substrate, have been carried out worldwide to assess the applicability of these passive monitoring devices to the detection of toxins produced by a variety of marine and freshwater microorganisms. SPATT technology has been shown to provide reliable, sensitive and time-integrated sampling of various aquatic toxins, and also has the potential to provide an early warning system for both the occurrence of toxic microalgae or cyanobacteria and bioaccumulation of toxins in foodstuffs. This review describes the wide range of lipophilic and hydrophilic toxins associated with toxin-producing harmful algal blooms (HABs) that are successfully detected by SPATT devices. Implications in terms of monitoring of emerging toxic risks and reinforcement of current risk assessment programs are also discussed.
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