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Analysis of chloramphenicol in honeys of different geographical origin by liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry

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A sensitive liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed to detect trace amounts of the antibiotic chloramphenicol (CAP) in honey. The methodology entailed a solid-phase extraction of aqueous honey solutions followed by liquid-liquid partitioning, filtration and direct injection onto the LC-MS/MS system. Honey extracts were spiked with an isotopically labelled internal standard (d5-CAP) to compensate for analyte loss and potential ion suppression during the MS stage. Detection of the analyte was achieved by negative ionization electrospray in the selected reaction monitoring (SAM) mode. For confirmation, four characteristic mass transitions were monitored each for the analyte and the surrogate standard. The method was validated according to the latest European Union criteria for the analyses of veterinary drug residues in food. At all three fortification levels studied (0.1, 0.2, 0.5 g kg−1) the method was accurate to within 15%. The repeatability and within-laboratory reproducibilities were <12 and 18%, respectively. The decision limit (CCα) and detection capability (CC) were both <0.1 g kg−1. The procedure provides a sensitive and reliable method for the determination of residues of chloramphenicol in honey. Numerous raw honeys of various geographical origins were analysed, showing extensive contamination particularly those of Chinese origin.
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Keywords: antibiotics; chloramphenicol; electrospray ionization liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry; food analysis; raw honey; survey

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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