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Analysis of acrylamide in different foodstuffs using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry and gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry

Acrylamide levels over a wide range of different food products were analysed using both liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC–MS–MS) and gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (GC–MS–MS). Two different sample preparation methods for HPLC–MS–MS analysis were developed and optimised with respect to a high sample throughput on the one hand, and a robust and reliable analysis of difficult matrices on the other hand. The first method is applicable to various foods like potato chips, French fries, cereals, bread, and roasted coffee, allowing the analysis of up to 60 samples per technician and day. The second preparation method is not as simple and fast but enables analysis of difficult matrices like cacao, soluble coffee, molasses, or malt. In addition, this method produces extracts which are also well suited for GC–MS–MS analysis. GC–MS–MS has proven to be a sensitive and selective method offering two transitions for acrylamide even at low levels up to 1 μg kg−1. For the respective methods the repeatability (n=10), given as coefficient of variation, ranged from 3% (acrylamide content of 550 μg kg−1) to 12% (acrylamide content of 8 μg kg−1) depending on the food matrix. The repeatability (n=3) for different food samples spiked with acrylamide (5–1500 μg kg−1) ranged from 1 to 20% depending on the spiking level and the food matrix. The limit of quantification (referred to a signal-to-noise ratio of 9:1) was 30 μg kg−1 for HPLC–MS–MS and 5 μg kg−1 for GC–MS–MS. It could be demonstrated that measurement uncertainties were not only a result of analytical variability but also of inhomogeneity and stability of the acrylamide in food

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