Patulin Contamination Analysis
Patulin is a naturally occurring mycotoxin metabolite that are produced by a variety of molds species primarily Penicillium species.
Figure 1. Chemical structure of patulin and related contaminated foods
The foods that are mostly associated with the contamination of patulin are fruits including apples, cherries and bananas and fruit related products. It can also be found in other foods such as grains and vegetables. Apples are the most common fruits that are contaminated with patulin. The fresh apple juice and unfermented apple cider also have the high risk of patulin contamination. The contaminated apples show spoilage characteristics with brown rot. The fruits can be contaminated during pre-harvest stage when the fruits are grown and also during the post-harvest period when the storage conditions are poor and not properly controlled. The risk of patulin contamination may be increased with the increasing of the storage time at a mild temperature and moist environment. It is important to store the harvested fruits in a refrigerated temperature to minimize the risk of patulin formation. Patulin is relatively stable in fruit juice and cannot be degraded even during heat treatments. The fresh fruit juice made with the contaminated fruits has a high risk of patulin formation. The fruits contamination by patulin has become a worldwide issue, especially for the countries that are main producers of apples and apple related products.
Patulin can cause acute effects in humans such as vomiting, nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms after the consumption of foods contaminated with patulin. It has a wide range of adverse effects on human health including immunotoxic, genotoxic and neurotoxic effects. Patulin also has harmful effects on the developing fetus and the nervous and immune systems. It can potentially cause the damage to DNA as a mutagen.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has established a provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (TDI) for patulin as 0.4 µg/kg body weight per day. The European Commission has specified the maximum levels for the patulin in a variety of food products. The contamination limits were set as 50 µg/L for apple juice and apple cider, 25 µg/kg for solid apple products and 10 µg/kg for apple juice and apple products for infants and young children.
The procedure for the analysis of patulin in foods includes sample preparation and extraction, purification, and detection/quantification. We have expertise in the sample preparation of a variety types of food matrices. The sample preparation has significant effect on the accuracy of the level measured in the food samples.
We offer accurate and validated analytical platforms for both the identification and quantification that have been widely applied in the determination of patulin in fruits and fruit based products to meet customers' needs.
Liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS)
LC-MS is a well-established method for the quantification of patulin. The method offers low limit of detection and high accuracy and specificity. It can also be developed for multi-target analysis.
We also maintain high quality assurance for the analysis. The recovery of internal standard, the use of blanks and spikes is monitored for each batch of analysis.
* Not intended for personal food safety testing.