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Survey of the natural occurrence of zearalenone in maize from northern Iran by thin-layer chromatography densitometry

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During September 2000, forty samples of preharvest maize from the province of Mazandaran, north Iran, were randomly collected. Samples were analysed for zearalenone (ZEA) by a thin-layer chromatograpy (TLC) method (AOAC Official Method). ZEA was extracted with chloroform, purified through a chromatographic column containing silica gel, separated on a TLC plate and quantified by densitometry. The analytical method was validated and was adequately reliable and sensitive. The mean recovery rate of ZEA from spiked samples was 92%. The absolute amount of ZEA standard detectable on a TLC plate was 20 ng, giving a limit of detection (LOD) of 100 ng g−1. In some samples, it was shown that aflatoxins interfere with ZEA. Therefore, to remove this interference, the TLC mobile phase was changed. Data revealed that three of 40 (7.5%) maize samples contained ZEA in the range 100-212 ng g−1, with a mean of 141±51 ng g−1. This study, which is the first report of ZEA occurrence in Iranian maize, showed that the ZEA level in maize of Mazandaran province was lower than maximum limit for this mycotoxin in Iran.
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Keywords: densitometry; maize; thin-layer chromatography (TLC); zearalenone (ZEA)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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