Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Kevin O'Shea

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

John Landrum

Third Advisor's Name

Kathleen Rein


Domoic, Acid, photooxidation, kainic, pseudonitzschia, singlet, oxygen, sorbic, algal, blooms

Date of Defense



Domoic acid (DA) is a naturally occurring cyanotoxin, which upon ingestion, is responsible for amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) in both humans and animals. Produced by the marine diatom, Pseudonitzschia, DA is accumulated by a number of marine organisms including shellfish, clams and mussels which upon consumption can lead to headaches, nausea and seizures. Possessing a variety of functional groups the structure of DA contains three carboxyl groups, a pyrrole ring and a potent conjugated diene region allowing for binding to glutamate receptors in the dorsal hippocampus of the brain causing the described detrimental effects. Although limitations have been placed regarding the amount of DA that may be contained in seafood no limitations have been placed on the amount present in drinking water. Natural degradation of the toxin may occur through reactive oxygen species such as the hydroxyl radical and singlet oxygen at the conjugated diene region. In this work the photooxidation of DA via singlet oxygen has been studied using sorbic acid as a model compound. The three major reaction pathways observed during the photooxdiation process for both acids include 2 + 4 cycloaddition to produce endoperoxides , 2 + 2 reaction to afford aldehydes and ketones or an ene reaction to generate hydroperoxides. Under similar reaction conditions for SA and DA, the endoperoxide has been seen to be the major product for photoxidation of SA while the hydroperoxide has been seen to be the dominant product during photooxidation of DA.





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