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Benefits of SPE for the Analysis of Mycotoxins

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The globalization of the food chain has meant that the focus on food safety is greater than ever before and as a result, food manufacturers are facing increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. One area that is receiving a growing amount of attention is mycotoxin intake from contaminated food and feed which causes mycotoxin intoxication.

Mycotoxins are secondary fungal metabolites that are typically produced by fungi growing on grains and fruit during shipment or storage. When ingested, mycotoxins may cause acute or chronic disease and it has been shown that repeated exposure to low level mycotoxin ingestion can affect growth and development and cause immunosuppression.

Both European and US governmental agencies require the results of mycotoxin analysis to be reported to ensure they do not exceed acceptable levels. To ensure against contamination of the food chain, fast and cost-effective sample preparation is essential for the analysis of mycotoxins.

Traditional sample preparation for mycotoxin analysis typically involves extraction with acetonitrile/water and clean-up via charcoal-alumina columns. As the contaminants can differ considerably in polarity and solubility, recoveries of the more polar analytes can be compromised using this approach.

Another technique is the use of immunoaffinity columns (IAC). While these columns provide highly selective extractions with high recoveries, separate IAC columns are required for each toxin, which adds additional costs to the analysis.

The clean-up process of mycotoxins can be optimized using Agilent Bond Elut Mycotoxin, a solid phase extraction (SPE) sorbent which cleans up food extracts for improved trichothecene and zearalenone analysis. The sorbent is a proprietary silica-based ion exchange material and the Bond Elut Mycotoxin method for extraction and clean up is successful with a variety of food and grain sample types including wheat, corn, durum, oats and bread. The benefits of employing the Bond Elut solution for the analysis of mycotoxins include:

• Faster flow rates
• Excellent cartridge-to-cartridge reproducibility
• Reduced sample preparation time
• Less sample loss
• More reliable data
• Greater stability

Bond Elut Mycotoxin has been shown to deliver higher sensitivity and clean up than traditional charcoal alumina fractionation and much faster workflow than immunoaffinity columns. Don’t forget to download the Agilent Mycotoxin Applications Guide which provides a wealth of data to reference for mycotoxin analysis.