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J AOAC Int. 1993 Mar-Apr;76(2):275-82.

Determination of aspartame and its major decomposition products in foods.

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  • 1Nestec Ltd, NestlĂ© Research Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland.


A liquid chromatographic procedure already evaluated in a preceding study for the analysis of acesulfam-K is also suitable for the determination of the intense sweetener aspartame in tabletop sweetener, candy, fruit beverage, fruit pulp, soft drink, yogurt, cream, cheese, and chocolate preparations. The method also allows the determination of aspartame's major decomposition products: diketopiperazine, aspartyl-phenylalanine, and phenylalanine. Samples are extracted or diluted with water and filtered. Complex matrixes are centrifuged or clarified with Carrez solutions. An aliquot of the extract is analyzed on a reversed-phase muBondapak C18 column using 0.0125M KH2PO4 (pH 3.5)-acetonitrile ([85 + 15] or [98 + 2]) as mobile phase. Detection is performed by UV absorbance at 214 nm. Recoveries ranged from 96.1 to 105.0%. Decomposition of the sweetener was observed in most food samples. However, the total aspartame values (measured aspartame + breakdown products) were within -10% and +5% of the declared levels. The repeatabilities and the repeatability coefficients of variation were, respectively, 1.00 mg/100 g and 1.34% for products containing less than 45 mg/100 g aspartame and 4.11 mg/100 g and 0.91% for other products. The technique is precise and sensitive. It enables the detection of many food additives or natural constituents, such as other intense sweeteners, organic acids, and alkaloids, in the same run without interfering with aspartame or its decomposition products. The method is consequently suitable for quality control or monitoring.

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