Development, validation and application of a multi-mycotoxin method for the analysis of whole wheat plants

Judith Schenzel, Hans-Rudolf Forrer, Susanne Vogelgsang, Thomas D Bucheli
Mycotoxin Research 2012, 28 (2): 135-47
Mycotoxins are known to affect the health of humans and husbandry animals. In contrast to wheat grains used for food and feed, whole wheat plants are rarely analysed for mycotoxins, although contaminated straw could additionally expose animals to these toxic compounds. Since the entire wheat plant may also act as source of mycotoxins emitted into the environment, an analytical method was developed, optimised and validated for the analysis of 28 different mycotoxins in above-ground material from whole wheat plants. The method comprises solid-liquid extraction and a clean-up step using a Varian Bond Elut Mycotoxin(®) cartridge, followed by liquid chromatography with electrospray ionisation and triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Total method recoveries for 26 out of 28 compounds were between 69 and 122% and showed limits of detection from 1 to 26 ng/gdry weight (dw). The overall repeatability for all validated compounds was on average 7%, and their mean ion suppression 65%. Those rather high matrix effects made it necessary to use matrix-matched calibrations to quantify mycotoxins within whole wheat plants. The applicability of this method is illustrated with data from a winter wheat test field to examine the risks of environmental contamination by toxins following artificial inoculation separately with four different Fusarium species. The selected data originate from samples of a part of the field which was inoculated with Fusarium crookwellense. In the wheat samples, various trichothecenes (3-acetyl-deoxynivalenol, deoxynivalenol, diacetoxyscirpenol, fusarenone-X, nivalenol, HT-2 toxin, and T-2 toxin) as well as beauvericin and zearalenone were identified with concentrations ranging from 32 ng/gdw to 12 × 10(3) ng/gdw.

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