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Myco-DES: Enabling Remote Extraction of Mycotoxins for Robust and Reliable Quantification by Stable Isotope Dilution LC–MS/MS

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journal contribution
posted on 27.03.2020 by Katharina M. Schlegel, Paul W. Elsinghorst
Mycotoxins remain a global threat to human and animal health, especially in countries lacking effective measures to detect and control contaminated commodities. As the quantification of mycotoxins usually relies on complex and expensive techniques, the availability of suitable instrumentation is often a bottleneck in reliable mycotoxin detection. As part of our research toward strategies offering widespread access to mycotoxin analysis while cutting down on costs, we present a new extraction and quantification protocol combining materials originally designed for dried blood spot analysis with stable isotope dilution analysis. Its key benefits are that extraction of mycotoxins can be carried out at remote sites and by minimally trained personnel, while quantification will take place in specialized central laboratories simply connected by regular, paper-based mail. As a proof of concept, aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, and deoxynivalenol were extracted from cereal-based foodstuffs, fixed on paper cards for transport, and successfully quantified after re-extraction by stable isotope dilution LC–MS/MS analysis. Several materials (cellulose/polyethylene terephthalate/glass fiber, nontreated/chemically treated) as well as possible transport and storage conditions (temperature, humidity) were evaluated. The final myco-DES (dried extract spots) protocol allows quantification of mycotoxin levels currently recognized as safe (aflatoxin B1: 2 μg/kg, ochratoxin A: 3 μg/kg, deoxynivalenol: 500 μg/kg) after a storage of up to 4 weeks under tropical climate conditions (40 °C, 75% relative humidity).