Free and bound fumonisins in gluten-free food products

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Abstract

In this work a multiresidual LC-ESI-MS/MS method for the simultaneous detection of free and bound fumonisins is described, which allowed for a very low LOD and a very good recovery for all the analytes. The method was applied to the determination of free and bound fumonisins in several gluten-free products from the Italian market. Free fumonisins were found to occur in 90% of the samples: the overall median value was below the EU legal limit for foods for human consumption (800 μg/kg). Nonetheless, fumonisins occurred in several samples at concentrations above the legal limit, reaching also very strong contamination levels (maximum concentration level: 3310 μg/kg). Anyway, considering the limited diet of people suffering of the celiac disease or allergic to other wheat proteins, the incidence of fumonisin contamination may be envisaged as problematic. Furthermore, bound fumonisins were found to be present in all the analysed samples at similar or even higher amounts than the free forms. In many cases the sum of free and bound fumonisins exceeded the EU legal limit for total fumonisins also for those samples characterized by a low contamination of free fumonisins, thus opening a new important task to be addressed for the risk assessment in this field.

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