Linking a rapid throughput plate-assay with high-sensitivity stable-isotope label LCMS quantification permits the identification and characterisation of low ß-L-ODAP grass pea lines.

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Grass pea (Lathyrus sativus) is an underutilised crop with high tolerance to drought and flooding stress and potential for maintaining food and nutritional security in the face of climate change. The presence of the neurotoxin ß-L-oxalyl-2,3-diaminopropionic acid (ß-L-ODAP) in tissues of the plant has limited its adoption as a staple crop. To assist in the detection of material with very low neurotoxin toxin levels, we have developed two novel methods to assay ODAP. The first, a version of a widely used spectrophotometric assay, modified for increased throughput, permits rapid screening of large populations of germplasm for low toxin lines and the second is a novel, mass spectrometric procedure to detect very small quantities of ODAP for research purposes and characterisation of new varieties.