Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Using LC-MS to Analyse Sulfonamides in Food Grade Honey

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Sulfonamides are one of a number of groups of chemicals whose presence in honey is limited by international regulations.

Honey manufacturers are faced with a range of stringent food safety regulations, which are subject to change over time. Here Joe Anacleto, VP for Bruker Daltonics Applied Markets Business Group, explores the challenges surrounding the detection of sulfonamides in honey according to international standards and how liquid chromatography mass spectrometry with multiple reaction monitoring can offer a fast, robust and simple solution for food safety testing.

What are the key food safety challenges facing honey manufacturers?

Joe Anacleto (JA): Honey manufacturers need to consider a range of contested environmental, ecological and personal health issues. Regulations for the content, labeling and even the very nature of components within honey are under almost constant debate and vary worldwide. This means that honey manufacturers must meet a whole range of regulations, which are subject to change, in order to ensure consumer protection. It is therefore particularly important for honey producers to have access to sophisticated food analysis methods to exact control over their products and meet regulatory criteria.

What are sulfonamides and why do they present particular risks in honey?

JA: Sulfonamides are a key group of broad spectrum antibacterial drugs, frequently employed in the production of honey to prevent and treat bacterial growth, as well as to fight disease in honey bees. Consequently, residues of sulfonamides are frequently detected in honey products. However, sulfonamides are a common allergen and can provoke a variety of reactions in hypersensitive humans, with effects ranging from mild irritation to severe dermatological disorders, as well as liver and kidney damage. It has also been suggested that the use of sulfonamides in honey may contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria, a problem of increasing global concern.

How is the presence of sulfonamides in honey regulated?

JA: Regulation of sulfonamides is complicated, since the risk to consumers relates to potential allergic reactions. As the varied effects of allergens are dependent on the response of the individual consumer, it is technically impossible to quantify an exact concentration at which food can be classified as safe for consumption. Similarly, there is no scientific consensus on the level of contribution that sulfonamides in honey makes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, nor as to how best to mitigate the effects. For this reason, legislation related to the maximum residue allowance varies considerably between regions. Many regions set particularly low minimum required performance levels (MRPLs) for residue concentration, with the European Union limiting sulfonamide content in honey to 10 μg/kg. 

What challenges are presented by the detection of sulfonamides in honey?

JA: Regulation in some regions is very strict; EU legislation defines the required levels of specificity, sensitivity and reproducibility needed to maintain high level consumer protection, with more specific rules to ensure effective quantitation. Low level sulfonamide residues are notoriously difficult to analyze. The complex interactions that arise from biological matrices such as honey substantially obfuscate analysis; traditional techniques suffer extensive preparation times, limited selectivity and low throughput. European Union Directive 2002/657/EC lists a number of potential analytical techniques, of which mass spectrometry with ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) is inarguably the most powerful and accessible for the identification of organic compounds within a variety of matrices.

How can multiple reaction monitoring with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry benefit food safety analysis?

JA: Of the range of mass spectrometry techniques available, multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) with triple quadrupole liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS TQ) has emerged as the most effective for food analysis, favored for its high sensitivity and selectivity in complex matrices with minimal sample preparation. MRM mass spectrometry methods employ multiple mass filtering functions to enhance selectivity during analyte quantitation. Firstly, specific ions of interest are pre-selected as ‘pre-cursor’ ions, before undergoing fragmentation within a collision cell. By then filtering only the compound-specific fragment ions for analysis, MRM mass spectrometry enables highly sensitive and straightforward multiplexing analysis, with the specificity required for low analyte levels even within complex biological matrices. 

How can LC-MS TQ be used to meet EU regulations on sulfonamides in honey?

JA: A case study by Bruker demonstrates how MRM LC-MS TQ can be used for the analysis of sulfonamides in honey according to EU standards, while ensuring accuracy and substantially decreasing routine analysis time. Nine commonly used sulfonamide antibiotics were analyzed using the EVOQ Elite with Advance UHPLC, following a simple sample preparation procedure of thirty minutes. The method’s repeatability was tested over three separate days, by spiking blank honey matrices with 0.1, 1 and 10 ppb of sulfonamides. The S/N ratios for all nine sulfonamides under study at LOQ (0.1 ng/g) level concentration were found to be well within the acceptable range of accuracy and precision. The method was also found to be extremely repeatable (intra-day and inter-day) with relative standard deviations below 12%, again satisfying an important specification of the EU directive.

The European Union (EU) specifies several parameters within the method, to provide greater stringency and more precaution against false positives. Group A substances, such as sulfonamides, require a minimum of four identification points (IP) to confirm detection of the compounds of interest. This requirement is satisfied through the acquisition of two MRM transitions where 1.0 is assigned for the ‘precursor ion’ and 1.5 IPs are assigned for each target analyte. The ion ratio of a pair of MRM transitions acquired for each target analyte must match to those of the certified reference material within specified tolerance. These were found to be consistent for all the analyte samples taken for this study, demonstrating that this method me EU guidelines.

How are advances in triple quadrupole liquid chromatography mass spectrometry meeting the needs of food safety more broadly?

JA: Food safety testing requires a high level of sensitivity, to meet increasing regulatory demands and provide complete user confidence. Certain MRM mass spectrometry systems deliver even higher levels of specificity and selectivity for food testing, through innovative advances in instrument design. The EVOQ range from Bruker includes Vacuum Insulated Probe HESI (VIP-HESI), which prevents the degradation of thermally fragile molecules for improved sensitivity. Speed and robustness are also crucial in the high throughput environment of a food testing laboratory. Advance UHPLC reduces chromatographic run time, while PACER software offers exception-based review, which eliminates the need for non-experts to review chromatograms, to accelerate sample-to-report times and improve efficiency. The EVOQ also features the unique Active Exhaust in the ion source, which eliminates gas recirculation within the instrument to reduce chemical noise over time and significantly reduce cleaning and downtime.

Details of Bruker's range of liquid chromatography mass spectrometry products can be found below.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Bruker’s NMR FoodScreener™ Laboratory Achieves ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation
Bruker announced that its NMR FoodScreener™ laboratory for food authenticity and quality determination, located in Rheinstetten, Germany, has been granted ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Bruker Reports 7% Revenue Growth in Q4
Bruker Corporation reported financial results for its fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Bruker Corporation Appoints Dr. Gilles Martin to its Board of Directors
Dr. Martin is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Eurofins Scientific Group.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Scientific News
Antibiotic Resistance Can Occur Naturally in Soil Bacteria
Scientists have found natural anti-biotic resistant bacteria in soils with little to no human exposure.
Eggs from Small Flocks More Likely to Contain Salmonella
Penn State study suggests that eggs from small local enterprises are not safer to eat than “commercially produced” eggs.
Using X-rays to Figure Out Fats
Scientists trying to replace food fats with non-saturated versions are looking to x-rays to aid them.
Feeding Babies Egg and Peanut May Prevent Food Allergy
The new analysis pools all existing data, and suggests introducing egg and peanut at an early age may prevent the development of allergy.
EFSA Completes Food Colour Re-evaulation
The re-evaluation of titanium dioxide marks the completion of the EFSA's re-evaluation of all food colours permitted for use in the EU before 2009.
Risks in Your Food
Researchers have developed a method to reliably detect allergenic substances in foods.
Dietary Selenium Content Linked to Cancer
Researchers have shown higher blood selenium levels are associated with reduced liver cancer risk.
Sensor Could Help Fight Bacterial Infections
The sensor can detect E.coli bacteria in 15-20 minutes over a wide temperature range, offering a fast and cost effective tests.
Chemical in Plastics Linked to Genital Abnormalities
Researchers have linked an endocrine-disrupting chemical to reproductive organ abnormalities in children.
Sharks Contain High Levels of Neurotoxins Linked to Alzheimer’s
Research team suggests restricting shark consumption to protect human health as shark fins & meat contain high levels of neurotoxins.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!