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J AOAC Int. 2005 Jan-Feb;88(1):5-15.

Microbiological assay-trienzyme procedure for total folates in cereals and cereal foods: collaborative study.

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Medallion Laboratories, General Mills Inc., 9000 Plymouth Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55427, USA.


In 1996, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations mandated the fortification of enriched cereal-grain products with folic acid, thereby emphasizing the need for validated methods for total folates in foods, particularly cereal products. The AOAC Official Methods (944.12, 960.46) currently used for the analysis of folate in foods for compliance purposes are microbiological methods. When the fortification regulations were finalized, no Official AOAC or Approved AACC methods for folate in cereal-grain products were in place. The AOAC Official Method (992.05) for folic acid in infant formula does not incorporate important improvements in the extraction procedure and was not considered suitable for the analysis of folates in foods in general. A microbiological assay protocol using a trienzyme extraction procedure was prepared and submitted for comments to 40 laboratories with recognized experience in folate analysis. On the basis of comments, the method was revised to have the conjugase (gamma-glutamyl-carboxy-peptidase) treatment follow a protease treatment, to include the use of cryoprotected inoculum, and to include the spectroscopic standardization of the standard and optional use of microtiter plates. Thirteen laboratories participated in a collaborative study of 10 required and 10 optional cereal-grain products, including flour, bread, cookies, baking mixes, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. The majority of the participating laboratories performed the assay by the standard test tube method; others used the microtiter plate modification for endpoint quantitation with equal success. For the required products, the relative standard deviation between laboratories (RSD(R)) ranged from 7.4 to 21.6% for 8 fortified (or enriched) products compared with expected (Horwitz equation-based) values of 11-20%. RSD(R) values were higher (22.7-52.9%) for 2 unfortified cereal-grain products. For the optional products, the RSD(R) ranged from 1.8 to 11.2% for 8 fortified products. RSD(R) values were higher (27.9-28.7%) for 2 unfortified cereal-grain products. Based on the results of the collaborative study, the microbiological assay with trienzyme extraction is recommended for adoption as Official First Action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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