Biotoxins in Shellfish and Seafoods

A facilities upgrade here at Analytical Services Tasmania (AST) in late 2017 has enabled us to provide a local, rapid testing service for the shellfish industry in Tasmania. 

The upgrade was undertaken with consultation from both the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC) and Oysters Tasmania to industry specifications. 

The new service provides fast and flexible testing operations 52 weeks of the year, including the busy Christmas and Easter holiday periods, with testing days occurring on Mondays and Wednesdays (submissions need to be received prior to 10am on the testing day).

Shellfish Biotoxin analysis includes 28 separate analytes covering:

  • Lipophilic toxins (including AST and DST)
  • Neurotoxic Shellfish toxins
  • Paralytic Shellfish toxins (PST) screen
  • PST confirmation

The AST Biotoxin unit gained NATA testing accreditation for oysters, mussels, pipis and scallops in 2017. We are currently working to extend the scope of accreditation to other species that are affected by biotoxins, including rock lobster, abalone and clams. 

As part of this work, AST is a participant in an international inter-laboratory trial for a new streamlined PST analysis test, organised by two of the world leading laboratories in PST analysis, Cawthron (New Zealand) and Cefas (United Kingdom).

For enquiries regarding zone or area closures, the ShellMAP Biotoxin Management Plan or interpreting Biotoxin results, please contact ShellMAP on 6165 3771 or email

The biotoxin facility is co-located with the algae testing facility at AST at 18 St Johns Avenue in New Town, Hobart. 

Growers can contact the laboratory directly for algal (water) and meat sample jars, sample drop-off/postage/courier arrangements, and results. An explanation of some of the technical detail provided on the reports is provided on our client info sheet How To Read a Biotoxin Report.

To see the laboratory in operation, please contact us to organise a tour.

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