Imptox scientists supervised the development of an effective method to quantify cyanotoxins in food

The peer-reviewed open-access journal Separations recently published findings about an analytical method validated under the supervision of Imptox scientists Mirjana Andjelkovic from Sciensano and Andreja Rajkovic from Ghent University.

The method was developed to identify microcystins - a family of toxins produced by several aquatic cyanobacteria – in fruits and vegetables. Those toxins can end up in our food chain when fruits and vegetables are irrigated with water contaminated with cyanobacteria. Furthermore, they can deposit on the surface of micro- and nanoplstics and it is not yet clear what happens when both of them interact. In Imptox, researchers are trying to learn more about this phenomenon in the coming years.

In this study, the researchers used three different matrices – strawberries, lettuce and carrots– to represent the following three categories respectively: fruits/berries, leafy and root vegetables. Analytical toolbox based on “ultra high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) was used to quantify eight microcystin congeners and nodularin”. Currently they focus on basil, so stay tuned!

Although the 103 samples investigated didn’t contain traces of cyanotoxins, the recoveries of the researchers’ quality controls showed the effectiveness of their method, “illustrating that the use of this method in future research or monitoring as well as in official food controls in fruit and vegetable matrices is valid.”

Find out more about the developed method and download here the full article:

Van Hassel, W.H.R.; Masquelier, J.; Andjelkovic, M.; Rajkovic, A. Towards a Better Quantification of Cyanotoxins in Fruits and Vegetables: Validation and Application of an UHPLC-MS/MS-Based Method on Belgian Products. Separations 2022, 9, 319. https://doi.org/10.3390/separations9100319