Submitted to: Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/29/2021
Publication Date: 1/3/2022
Citation: Appell, M.D., Compton, D.L., Bosma, W.B. 2022. Raman spectral analysis for rapid determination of zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy. 270. Article 120842. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.saa.2021.120842.
Interpretive Summary: Zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol are chemicals monitored by governments to ensure food is safe. Zearalenone is a toxin made by fungi that can taint farm products, such as corn. Swine and humans produce alpha-zearalanol from zearalenone contaminated food and feed. One of the problems with gauging exposure to these toxins is the lack of quick detection methods. This research reports a fast way to verify zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol using a portable Raman detection device. These results show that Raman methods can detect zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol based on biochemical fingerprints. The fingerprints are unique to the toxins and enable clear proof of identity. This work demonstrates a cost-effective way for rapid verification of toxins to help food and feed safety.
Technical Abstract: Mycotoxins, including zearalenone, are important natural products produced by fungi that occasionally contaminate agricultural commodities and pose serious health risks to consumers of food and feed. Zearalenone and its metabolite, alpha-zearalanol, are of significant concern due to their estrogenic activity, anabolic steroid activity, and regulations and advisory status with several governments. Raman and ultraviolet spectroscopy were employed with density functional theory methods to evaluate spectroscopic properties to distinguish between zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol systematically. Raman bands were assigned based on vibrational frequency calculations. A portable Raman spectroscopy instrument (785 nm laser) distinguished between zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol in a label-free manner. Many vibrational bands of zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol are similar; however, the intensities in the Raman spectra at 1626 1/cm and 1355 1/cm enabled the identification of zearalenone. Raman peaks at 1458 1/cm and 1450 1/cm are associated with alpha-zearalanol. These vibrational bands serve as spectral indicators to differentiate between zearalenone and alpha-zearalanol.