Ludivine Fromentoux

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Determination of Contaminants in Beer Using LC–MS/MS and ICP-MS

October 1st 2016

The German Beer Purity Law of 1516 makes beer one of the best analyzed food products with the highest standards regarding quality, freshness, appearance, and flavor. According to this law, beer is allowed to contain hops, malt, yeast, and water as ingredients. Of course, beer also contains major B vitamins, bitter substances, and minerals and trace elements (such as Ca, Na, Mg, and Zn) that are important for human nutrition. However, undesirable substances such as pesticides and heavy metals (for instance Cd, Pb, Hg, Sb, and As) can be found as well, mostly as contaminants in brewing water and grains. In particular, the herbicide glyphosate has to be monitored carefully since it is discussed as a possible carcinogenic. The chromatography of glyphosate is challenging because of its high polarity. A well-established method including a derivatization step with 9-fluorenylmethyl chloroformate (FMOC) followed by LC–MS analysis is time-consuming and also susceptible to errors. A sample pretreatment without derivatization is desirable because it is faster and cheaper. A triple quadrupole mass spectrometer optimizes the analytical procedure and establishes a routine method for the analysis of glyphosate in beer. For the determination of low element concentrations, such as As, Se, Pb, Cd, and Zn, inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is applied.