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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: Determination of the aflatoxin AFB1 from corn by direct analysis in real time-mass spectrometry (DART-MS)

item Busman, Mark
item Liu, Jihong
item Zhong, Hongjian
item Bobell, John
item Maragos, Chris

Submitted to: Food Additives & Contaminants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2014
Publication Date: 5/9/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Busman, M., Liu, J., Zhong, H., Bobell, J.R., Maragos, C.M. 2014. Determination of the aflatoxin AFB1 from corn by direct analysis in real time-mass spectrometry (DART-MS). Food Additives & Contaminants. 31(5):932-939.

Interpretive Summary: A technique was developed to determine levels of aflatoxin from corn. Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by a variety of fungi during their infestation of growing corn kernels. The technique is based on the coupling of an ambient ionization from a paper surface with mass spectrometry. The procedure allows the rapid and sensitive detection of aflatoxin from corn samples without extensive sample preparation or the normally required chromatographic separation. This work provides a rapid, sensitive and convenient analytical tool to grain processors seeking to assure the safety of utilization of corn based products.

Technical Abstract: Direct analysis in real time (DART) ionization coupled to a high resolution mass spectrometer (MS) was used for screening of aflatoxins from a variety of surfaces and the rapid quantitative analysis of a common form of aflatoxin, AFB1, extracted from corn. Sample preparation procedure and instrument parameter settings were optimized to obtain sensitive and accurate determination of aflatoxin AFB1. 84:16 acetonitrile water extracts of corn were analyzed by DART-MS. The lowest calibration level (LCL) for aflatoxin AFB1 was 4 µg/kg. Quantitative analysis was performed with the use of matrix-matched standards employing the 13C-labeled internal standard for AFB1. DART-MS of spiked corn extracts gave linear response of the range 4–1000 µg/kg. Good recoveries (94–110%) and repeatabilities (RSD 0.7–6.9%) were obtained at spiking levels of 20 and 100 µg/kg with use of an isotope dilution technique. Trueness of data obtained for AFB1 in maize by DART-MS was demonstrated by analysis of corn certified reference materials.

Last Modified: 08/16/2017
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