AS242: Automated QuEChERS Extraction and LC/MS/MS Analysis of Mycotoxins


15th March 2021

Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolism products of fungi that can cause illness and potentially death if consumed.

To protect consumers, food and livestock, feed producers are required to ensure that mycotoxins do not enter the food chain at levels unsuitable for consumption.

Crops such as wheat, barley, corn or dried fruits can be susceptible to moulds in poor growing seasons, or with poor or inadequate storage conditions once harvested.

Mycotoxins testing typically uses enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or liquid chromatography with mass spectrometric detection, the latter being seen as the gold standard.

Both methods require labour intensive extraction procedures which are limited to laboratory working hours and ELISA requires a different test for each analyte.

Element have developed an automated method for the extraction and analysis of mycotoxins, using QuEChERS extraction of ground crop, followed by LC-MS/MS analysis.

This method was evaluated in wholemeal wheat flour for six common mycotoxins, all of which showed reproducible extraction and allowed low levels of analyte detection.

This automated method has many advantages over traditional approaches, including; higher throughput, reduced analyst time, reduced analyst exposure to harmful mycotoxins and a reduced environmental impact due to lower solvent usage.


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