Design and Optimisation of Sustainable Sample Treatments Based on Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction and Strong Cation-Exchange Purification with Functionalised SBA-15 for Opium Alkaloids in Ground Poppy Seeds
An analysis methodology was optimised and validated for the quantification of opium alkaloids (OAs) in ground poppy seeds. This involved ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) and solid-phase extraction (SPE) purification before analysis using a high-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry detector (HPLC-MS/MS). UAE was optimised through the design of experiments with three factors and a three-level full factorial design. For SPE optimisation, a commercial material was compared with a previously synthesised material of SBA-15 silica functionalised with sulfonic groups (SBA-15-SO3-). The synthesised material demonstrated superior efficiency with only 25 mg and proved to be reusable for up to four cycles. The methodology was properly validated in terms of linearity, limits of detection and quantification, and selectivity. Matrix effects were negligible; adequate recovery values (85–100%) and inter-day and intra-day precision (<15%) were obtained. The greenness of the method was evaluated with the AGREEprep metric scale, being more environmentally friendly compared to OA analysis methods. Finally, the method was applied to different samples of ground poppy seeds and revealed a concentration of 140 mg/kg of morphine equivalents in one of the samples, surpassing the legislatively established limits by seven fold. This highlights the need to analyse these types of samples to mitigate potential public health issues.
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