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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2012 Jul;403(10):2933-42. doi: 10.1007/s00216-012-5932-8. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Glycidyl fatty acid esters in food by LC-MS/MS: method development.

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  • 1Food Research Division, Bureau of Chemical Safety, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


An improved method based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for the analysis of glycidyl fatty acid esters in oils was developed. The method incorporates stable isotope dilution analysis (SIDA) for quantifying the five target analytes: glycidyl esters of palmitic (C16:0), stearic (C18:0), oleic (C18:1), linoleic (C18:2) and linolenic acid (C18:3). For the analysis, 10 mg sample of edible oil or fat is dissolved in acetone, spiked with deuterium labelled analogs of glycidyl esters and purified by a two-step chromatography on C18 and normal silica solid phase extraction (SPE) cartridges using methanol and 5% ethyl acetate in hexane, respectively. If the concentration of analytes is expected to be below 0.5 mg/kg, 0.5 g sample of oil is pre-concentrated first using a silica column. The dried final extract is re-dissolved in 250 μL of a mixture of methanol/isopropanol (1:1, v/v), 15 μL is injected on the analytical C18 LC column and analytes are eluted with 100% methanol. Detection of target glycidyl fatty acid esters is accomplished by LC-MS/MS using positive ion atmospheric pressure chemical ionization operating in Multiple Reaction Monitoring mode monitoring 2 ion transitions for each analyte. The method was tested on replicates of a virgin olive oil which was free of glycidyl esters. The method detection limit was calculated to be in the range of 70-150 μg/kg for each analyte using 10 mg sample and 1-3 μg/kg using 0.5 g sample of oil. Average recoveries of 5 glycidyl esters spiked at 10, 1 and 0.1 mg/kg were in the range 84% to 108%. The major advantage of our method is use of SIDA for all analytes using commercially available internal standards and detection limits that are lower by a factor of 5-10 from published methods when 0.5 g sample of oil is used. Additionally, MS/MS mass chromatograms offer greater specificity than liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry operated in selected ion monitoring mode. The method will be applied to the survey of glycidyl fatty acid esters in food products on the Canadian market.

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