Feed additives are typically used in intensive farming production over long periods, and hence, they can accumulate in farmed animal tissues. Concerns regarding the use of ethoxyquin as an antioxidant feed additive, have recently arisen due to its potential conversion into a series of transformation products (TPs).
The aim of this work was to characterize the TPs of ethoxyquin in fish feed by a novel approach based on the use of traveling-wave ion mobility spectrometry (TWIMS) coupled to high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (QTOFMS). First, ethoxyquin was oxidized under controlled conditions and the generated TPs were added to a comprehensive database. Atlantic salmon feeds were then screened for ethoxyquin TPs using both targeted and untargeted approaches.
Twenty-seven TPs were tentatively identified during the oxidation experiments, fifteen of them also being present in the feed samples. In addition, ten other potential TPs were detected in fish feed following the untargeted approach. Thirty-one of these TPs have been reported for the first time in this work through the oxidation experiments and the feed samples. Therefore, this study provides valuable information on the oxidative fate of ethoxyquin in feed, which can be used for future evaluations of potential risk related to this additive.