Accurate Analysis and Evaluation of Acidic Plant Growth Regulators in Transgenic and Nontransgenic Edible Oils with Facile Microwave-Assisted Extraction–Derivatization

Determination of plant growth regulators (PGRs) in a signal transduction system (STS) is significant for transgenic food safety, but may be challenged by poor accuracy and analyte instability. In this work, a microwave-assisted extraction–derivatization (MAED) method is developed for six acidic PGRs in oil samples, allowing an efficient (<1.5 h) and facile (one step) pretreatment. Accuracies are greatly improved, particularly for gibberellin A3 (−2.72 to −0.65%) as compared with those reported (−22 to −2%). Excellent selectivity and quite low detection limits (0.37–1.36 ng mL–1) are enabled by fluorescence detection–mass spectrum monitoring. Results show the significant differences in acidic PGRs between transgenic and nontransgenic oils, particularly 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (1-NAA), implying the PGRs induced variations of components and genes. This study provides, for the first time, an accurate and efficient determination for labile PGRs involved in STS and a promising concept for objectively evaluating the safety of transgenic foods.