New Mycotoxin Detection Method: MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 Nanocomposites Enhances Agricultural Product Safety


In a recent development, researchers at the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China have unveiled a novel magnetic solid-phase extraction (MSPE) method using MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 nanocomposites for the determination of multiple mycotoxins in agricultural products. The study, titled "MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 nanocomposites as magnetic solid-phase extraction adsorbent for the determination of multiple mycotoxins in agricultural products by ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry," was published in the journal Food Control (1).

Mycotoxins, toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi, pose a significant threat to the safety of various agricultural products. The research team, led by corresponding authors Zhihui Zhao and Dongxia Nie, addressed this challenge by developing an efficient and rapid MSPE method using MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 nanocomposites as adsorbents. The study focused on the purification and enrichment of nine crucial mycotoxins found in maize, wheat, watermelon, and melon.

The successful synthesis of MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 was confirmed through rigorous characterization methods, including scanning electron microscopy (SEM)and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses. The nanocomposites exhibited a regular octahedral structure with Fe3O4 nanoparticles decorated on MIL-101(Cr), showcasing their potential for targeted extraction.

SEM involves scanning the surface of a specimen with a focused beam of electrons to create a detailed, three-dimensional image of surface details. It relies on the detection of secondary electrons emitted from the specimen's surface, providing high-resolution images of surface topography. In contrast, TEM involves passing electrons through a thin specimen to create an image with extremely high magnification, enabling detailed examination of a sample’s internal structures at the nanoscale.

The researchers investigated key parameters affecting the MSPE procedure, such as loading solution, elution solution, and the dosage of adsorbents. Under optimized conditions, the method demonstrated the elimination of complex matrix effects from different agricultural products. The calibration curves constructed in neat solvent enabled accurate quantification of mycotoxins. 

The team employed ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) for the analysis, achieving remarkable results. The method exhibited good linearity (R2 ≥ 0.991), high sensitivity (limit of quantification in the range of 0.08–0.20 μg/kg), satisfactory recovery (83.5–108.5%), and acceptable precision (RSD, 1.6–10.4%). Real maize, wheat, watermelon, and melon samples were used to verify the applicability of the validated method.

The development of MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 nanocomposites represents a significant advancement in mycotoxin detection technology. The unique physicochemical properties of MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 efficiently eliminate matrix effects, offering a more convenient, environmentally friendly, and time-saving alternative to traditional methods. This breakthrough holds promise for ensuring the safety of agricultural products by enabling the simultaneous detection of multiple co-occurring mycotoxins.

The research, published in Food Control, marks a crucial step toward establishing efficient analytical methods for mycotoxin detection, addressing the pressing need for safeguarding human health against the risks associated with contaminated agricultural products.

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(1) Guo, D.; Huang, Q.; Zhao, R.; Guo, W.; Fan, K.; Han, Z.; Zhao, Z.; Nie, D. MIL-101(Cr)@Fe3O4 Nanocomposites as Magnetic Solid-Phase Extraction Adsorbent for the Determination of Multiple Mycotoxins in Agricultural Products by Ultra-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Food Control 2023, 146, 109540. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2022.109540

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