A rapid gas chromatographic injection-port derivatization method for the tandem mass spectrometric determination of patulin and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in fruit juices
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A novel method consisting of injection-port derivatization coupled to gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry is described. The method allows the rapid assessment of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and patulin content in apple and pear derivatives. The chromatographic separation of the compounds was achieved in a short chromatographic run (12.2 min) suitable for routine controls of these compounds in the fruit juice industry. The optimal conditions for the injection-port derivatization were at 270 °C, 0.5 min purge-off, and a 1:2 sample:derivatization reagent ratio (v/v). These conditions represent an important saving in terms of derivatization reagent consumption and sample preparation time. Quality parameters were assessed for the target compounds, giving LOD of 0.7 and 1.6 μg/kg and LOQ of 2 and 5 μg/kg for patulin and HMF, respectively. These values are below the maximum patulin concentration in food products intended for infants and young children. Repeatability (%RSD n = 5) was below 12% for both compounds. In addition, the method linearity ranged between 25 and 1000 μg/kg and between 5 and 192 μg/kg for HMF and patulin, respectively. Finally, the method was applied to study HMF and patulin content in various fruit juice samples.