Please login first
* 1 , 2 , 3 , 1 , 1
1  Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Granada, Avda. Fuente Nueva s/n, 18071, Granada, Spain
2  Dept. Biology, Faculty of Natural and Life Science, University of Oran 1, Algeria
3  Dept. Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain

Published: 14 January 2021 by MDPI in 1st International Electronic Conference on Toxins session Poster

Mycotoxins are fungal secondary metabolites naturally present in different food and feed with toxic effects to humans and animals that consume those contaminated products. Among them, ergot alkaloids (EAs), produced mainly by fungi of the Claviceps genus, as Claviceps purpurea, are present in cereals such as rye, triticale, wheat and barley. Improvements in agricultural practices have significantly reduce the risk of severe epidemic outbreaks of ergotism, however, EAs can be found in cereal-based food and feed, partially due to new cereal hybrids susceptible to C. purpurea and climate changes. The European Commission has established a maximum content of 0.5 g/kg of ergot sclerotia in unprocessed cereals (with the exception of corn and rice), but the maximum content for EAs is still under study. Moreover, other countries (as Algeria) has no legislation regarding mycotoxin contamination.

In this study, the major EAs [ergometrine (Em), ergosine (Es), ergotamine (Et), ergocornine (Eco), ergokryptine (Ekr), ergocristine (Ecr)], and their corresponding epimers [ergometrinine (Emn), ergosinine (Esn), ergotaminine (Etn), ergocorninine (Econ), ergokryptinine (Ekrn) and ergocristinine (Ecrn)] have been determined by a QuEChERS-UHPLC-MS/MS method in cereal samples from Algeria (30 samples of wheat and 30 samples of barley). Procedural calibration curves were stablished for both matrices and limits of quantification were below 3.3 μg/kg (wheat) and 3.9 μg/kg (barley). The recoveries ranged between 85 and 109%, with a matrix effect lower than 20% in most cases and precision (RSD), lower than 11%. Four barley samples were contaminated with Em and Emn, and 3 of them showed also contamination by Et, with total EAs contents ranging from 18.0 to 54.0 μg/kg. Wheat samples showed a higher contamination, with 8 positive samples: one sample was contaminated only with Em, while the rest were contaminated with 5 up to 11 EAs, with total EAs contents ranging from 6.5 to 77.4 μg/kg.

Keywords: ergot alkaloids; liquid chromatography; cereal samples.