A Miniaturized QuEChERS Method Combined with Ultrahigh Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Tandem Mass Spectrometry for the Analysis of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Oregano Samples
Recent and unexpected food alerts about relatively high amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in oregano samples have stressed the need to develop analytical strategies to ensure food safety in this type of foodstu . Accordingly, this work presents the development of a miniaturized strategy based on the QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, e ective, rugged and safe) method combined with ultrahigh liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) for the determination of 21 pyrrolizidine alkaloids suggested by the European Food Safety Authority to be monitored in food. The analytical method was properly validated, with overall average recoveries from 77 to 96% and relative standard deviations <13% (n = 9). The method proved to be a sustainable analytical strategy which meets green analytical chemistry principles as it showed good performance by using small amounts of sample (0.2 g), organic solvents (1000 L), clean-up sorbents (175 mg) and partitioning salts (0.65 g). Its feasibility was verified through the analysis of 23 oregano samples. Of the samples analyzed, 100% were contaminated, with an average concentration of 1254 g/kg. Lasiocarpine, lasiocarpine N-oxide, europine, europine N-oxide, senecivernine, senecionine, echimidine N-oxide, lycopsamine N-oxide and intermedine N-oxide were the alkaloids which significantly contributed to the contamination of the samples.
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