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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #304149

Title: Determination of the aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) from milk by direct analysis in real time - mass spectrometry (DART-MS)

item Busman, Mark
item Bobell, John
item Maragos, Chris

Submitted to: Food Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2014
Publication Date: 8/15/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Busman, M., Bobell, J.R., Maragos, C.M. 2014. Determination of the aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) from milk by direct analysis in real time - mass spectrometry (DART-MS). Food Control. 47(2015):592-598.

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

Technical Abstract: Certain fungi that grow on crops can produce aflatoxins, which are highly carcinogenic. One of these, aflatoxin B1 can be metabolized by mammals to aflatoxin M1, a form that retains potent carcinogenicity and which can be excreted into milk. Direct analysis in real time (DART) ionization coupled to a high resolution mass spectrometer (MS) was used for the rapid quantitative analysis of a common form of aflatoxin, AFM1, extracted from cow milk. Sample preparation procedure and instrument parameter settings were optimized to obtain sensitive and accurate determination of AFM1. The lowest calibration level (LCL) for aflatoxin AFM1 was 0.1 µg/kg. Quantitative analysis was performed with the use of matrix-matched standards employing a 13C-labeled internal standard for AFM1. DART-MS of spiked milk extracts gave linear response over the range of 0.1–2.5 µg/kg. Good recoveries (94.7–109.2%) and repeatabilities (RSD 13.5–9.6%) were obtained at spiking levels of 0.5 and 2.0 µg/kg. The results of the study further demonstrate the potential of ambient ionization-MS techniques for the sensitive, convenient, and rapid quantitative determination of mycotoxins from difficult matrices.