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J Chromatogr A. 2006 Dec 15;1136(2):123-69. Epub 2006 Nov 7.

Trace mycotoxin analysis in complex biological and food matrices by liquid chromatography-atmospheric pressure ionisation mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Bayercropscience GmbH, Product Technology, Industriepark Höchst, G836, D-65926 Frankfurt/Main, Germany. peter.zoellner@bayercropscience.com


Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by filamentous fungi that are growing on agricultural commodities. Their frequent presence in food and their severe toxic, carcinogenic and estrogenic properties have been recognised as potential threat to human health. A reliable risk assessment of mycotoxin contamination for humans and animals relies basically on their unambiguous identification and accurate quantification in food and feedstuff. While most screening methods for mycotoxins are based on immunoassays, unambiguous analyte confirmation can be easily achieved with mass spectrometric methods, like gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Due to the introduction of atmospheric pressure ionisation (API) techniques in the late 80s, LC/MS has become a routine technique also in food analysis, overcoming the traditional drawbacks of GC/MS regarding volatility and thermal stability. During the last few years, this technical and instrumental progress had also an increasing impact on the expanding field of mycotoxin analysis. The aim of the present review is to give an overview on the application of LC-(API)MS in the analysis of frequently occurring and highly toxic mycotoxins, such as trichothecenes, ochratoxins, zearalenone, fumonisins, aflatoxins, enniatins, moniliformin and several other mycotoxins. This includes also the investigation of some of their metabolites and degradation products. Suitable sample pre-treatment procedures, their applicability for high sample through-put and their influence on matrix effects will be discussed. The review covers literature published until July 2006.

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