A Novel Approach to Overcoming Sample Complexity in Food Contaminant Testing

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The complexity and variety of sample matrices encountered is one of the biggest challenges in the analysis of food contaminants. Samples can range from relatively simple (e.g. most fruit and vegetables), to very complex (e.g. eggs, edible oils, spices). Methods for extraction of potential contaminants and clean up of samples to make them suitable for detection are numerous.

In the majority of cases the analysis of food contaminants is carried out using gas or liquidn chromatography (GC or LC) coupled with tandem quadrupole mass spectrometry utilizing multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) for sensitive and accurate quantitation. MRM involves the selection and acquisition of a number of ‘transitions’ per analyte (targeted analysis) and offers enhanced sensitivity over ‘full scan’ (‘non-targeted’) MS methods where a selected mass range is acquired.

RADAR is an extremely useful tool in the food testing laboratory for the development of sample preparation and chromatographic methods, as well as for monitoring final methods when in use. It provides a fuller picture of the sample including the identification of interferences, sample preparation and chromatographic issues, and unexpected contaminants. RADAR is available on all Waters tandem quadrupole MS systems, it is easy to set up, and will not compromise quantitative performance.

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