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High Throughput Quantification of Quaternary Ammonium Cations in Food Simulants by Flow-Injection Mass Spectrometry

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Background: A flow-injection MS (FI/MS) method was evaluated for the quantitation of quaternary ammonium cations (QACs) in simple food simulants. Methods: The calibration standard was dimethyldioctadecyl ammonium ion (C18-C18), and the internal standard was benzyldimethylhexadecyl (BDMHD) ammonium ion. Calibration standards based on the C18-C18 ion were prepared in ethanol with a range of 5 to 500 ppb and contained 100 ppb BDMHD. The mobile phase was 90 + 10 (v/v) acetonitrile–5 mM aqueous ammonium acetate and flowed directly into an electrospray source of the mass spectrometer. Detection was accomplished by single ion recording (SIR) in positive mode. Results: Calibration curves were linear with coefficients of determination above 0.995, and the LOQ was 5 ppb. Recoveries of four QACs derived from Arquad 2HT-75, a commercially available surfactant, were measured in common food simulants: ethanol, water, 10% (v/v) ethanol in water, and 3% (v/v) aqueous acetic acid. A solvent exchange procedure was employed for the three aqueous solvents, which included complete evaporation of the sample followed by reconstitution in ethanol prior to injection. The solvent exchange method minimized losses because of QAC adsorption on glass surfaces. Recoveries ranged from 74.4 ± 4.0 to 106.7 ± 6.6% for the two most abundant Arquad 2HT-75 component cations, dimethyldioctadecyl ammonium and dimethyloctadecyl-hexadecyl ammonium. Conclusions: This method is suitable to quantify trace levels of QACs in food simulants as part of exposure evaluations related to their use in emerging food contact materials.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Illinois Institute of Technology, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Bedford Park, IL 2: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Bedford Park, IL

Publication date: November 1, 2018

This article was made available online on May 31, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "High Throughput Quantification of Quaternary Ammonium Cations in Food Simulants by Flow-Injection Mass Spectrometry".

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  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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