Chilli powder, a popular spice, is predominantly contaminated with aflatoxins (AFs) and ochratoxin A (OTA), posing a menace to public health. As no validated method exists for the simultaneous and direct analysis of AFs and OTA in chilli powder, it was imperative to develop one to ensure their effective monitoring and promote trade. In this research, we developed and validated a multi-mycotoxin analysis method that allows the simultaneous determination of AFs (AFB1, AFB2, AFG1 and AFG2) and OTA in chilli powder with high sensitivity, accuracy and precision. The optimised sample preparation workflow started with the extraction of chilli powder (25 g) with methanol–water (100 mL, 80:20). An aliquot (3 mL) was cleaned on a multi-mycotoxin, immunoaffinity column (AFLAOCHRA PREP®) and analysed using ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence (UHPLC-FLD) and tandem mass spectrometric (LC–MS/MS) detection in a single chromatographic run. The method performance was evaluated through intra- and inter-laboratory validation (ILV) studies, and also by analysing a certified reference material. A direct analysis using UHPLC-FLD (without derivatisation) provided the limits of quantification (LOQ) of 0.25 and 1 ng/g for AFs and OTA, respectively, while the LOQ for all these mycotoxins in LC–MS/MS was 0.5 ng/g. These LOQs are much lower than the maximum levels (MLs) specified by the European Commission. The recoveries of these analytes at LOQ and higher levels were above 75% (RSDr < 12%). The ILV study demonstrated satisfactory method-reproducibility (RSDR < 25%). The analysis of the certified reference material provided accuracies of AFs and OTA in the range of 83–101%. The analysis by UHPLC-FLD and LC–MS/MS provided very similar results. The incurred levels of B1 in market samples were estimated with a precision-RSD of < 6%. Considering its efficiency and alignment with the regulatory requirements, this method can be implemented for the routine analysis of AFs and OTA in chilli powder.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work received partial funding from the Food Safety Standards Authority of India under the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) scheme.
© 2022, The Author(s) under exclusive licence to Society for Mycotoxin (Research Gesellschaft für Mykotoxinforschung e.V.) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
- Chilli powder
- Method validation
- Ochratoxin A
ASJC Scopus subject areas