Development of a fast isocratic LC-MS/MS method for the high-throughput analysis of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in Australian honey.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Food additives & contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment, 2015, 32 (2), pp. 214 - 228
Issue Date:
2015-01-12
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Honey samples originating from Australia were purchased and analysed for targeted pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) using a new and rapid isocratic LC-MS/MS method. This isocratic method was developed from, and is comparable with, a gradient elution method and resulted in no loss of sensitivity or reduction in chromatographic peak shape. Isocratic elution allows for significantly shorter run times (6 min), eliminates the requirement for column equilibration periods and, thus, has the advantage of facilitating a high-throughput analysis which is particularly important for regulatory testing laboratories. In excess of two hundred injections are possible, with this new isocratic methodology, within a 24-h period which is more than 50% improvement on all previously published methodologies. Good linear calibrations were obtained for all 10 PAs and four PA N-oxides (PANOs) in spiked honey samples (3.57-357.14 µg l(-1); R(2) ≥ 0.9987). Acceptable inter-day repeatability was achieved for the target analytes in honey with % RSD values (n = 4) less than 7.4%. Limits of detection (LOD) and limits of quantitation (LOQ) were achieved with spiked PAs and PANOs samples; giving an average LOD of 1.6 µg kg(-1) and LOQ of 5.4 µg kg(-1). This method was successfully applied to Australian and New Zealand honey samples sourced from supermarkets in Australia. Analysis showed that 41 of the 59 honey samples were contaminated by PAs with the mean total sum of PAs being 153 µg kg(-1). Echimidine and lycopsamine were predominant and found in 76% and 88%, respectively, of the positive samples. The average daily exposure, based on the results presented in this study, were 0.051 µg kg(-1) bw day(-1) for adults and 0.204 µg kg(-1) bw day(-1) for children. These results are a cause for concern when compared with the proposed European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Committee on Toxicity (COT) and Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR - Federal Institute of Risk Assessment Germany) maximum daily PA intake limit of 0.007 µg kg(-1) bw day(-1).
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