Mass spectrometry imaging makes elements, components and contaminants of meals seen

A pattern is clamped within the traverse desk of the ionization chamber. Credit score: UBT / Chr. Wißler.

Mass spectrometry imaging (MS imaging) offers extremely exact data on the spatial distribution of drugs in lots of areas. Researchers on the College of Bayreuth now current exemplary new functions in meals evaluation within the journal Meals Chemistry. For the primary time, they’ve succeeded in making seen an additive in dairy merchandise and a production-related contamination in baked items. Particular elements that affect meals high quality will be detected in fruit, greens and meat merchandise. The research, which was performed in cooperation with the Bavarian Well being and Meals Security Authority (LGL), exhibits the good potential of this methodology, not least by way of shopper safety.

Natamycin in cheese

To guard cheese wheels or smoked sausages from mildew infestation, the surfaces are sometimes handled with the fungicide natamycin. An EU regulation units a restrict of 1 milligram per sq. decimeter for this and in addition stipulates that natamycin should not penetrate deeper than 5 millimeters right into a handled cheese wheel. Nevertheless, this penetration depth can’t be described intimately utilizing the meals evaluation strategies generally used thus far, however the Bayreuth analysis workforce led by Prof. Dr. Andreas Römpp has been in a position to make use of MS imaging to point out for the primary time the place and in what portions the fungicide happens in various kinds of Gouda.

The penetration of the natamycin molecules will be tracked from the rind to the within of the cheese wheel. The scientists collaborated with the Bavarian Well being and Meals Security Authority (LGL) in these investigations. Based mostly on the outcomes obtained, they’ve developed methodological requirements for the identification of natamycin in cheese. “Constructing on this newly developed MS imaging method, it could be attainable to scale back shopper publicity to preservatives sooner or later,” says Prof. Römpp, who’s the Chair of Bioanalytic Sciences and Meals Evaluation on the College of Bayreuth.

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Acrylamide in gingerbread

An EU regulation additionally units limits for the presence of acrylamide in meals. It’s a cancer-promoting substance that’s fashioned from sugar and asparagine—an amino acid—at low humidity and temperatures above 120 levels Celsius. A way developed in Bayreuth, Germany, based mostly on MS imaging, visualizes acrylamide distribution in conventional German gingerbread. “To do that, we needed to cool the gingerbread samples to lower than minus 60 levels Celsius after which use an electrical microsaw to provide gingerbread slices of two millimeter thickness. This was the one method we might detect very small quantities of acrylamide,” studies Prof. Römpp.

Components of a kiwi: inexperienced = sugar, blue = polyphenol, pink = typical kiwi lipid. Credit score: Oliver Wittek

Research of veal sausages

The brand new research additionally exhibits that MS imaging is equally appropriate for analyses of processed meat merchandise. In veal sausages, water-soluble and fat-soluble parts develop into seen, in order that low-fat and high-fat areas will be clearly distinguished. Likewise, it turns into seen the place substances of plant origin are discovered that come from admixed herbs. “Nevertheless, MS imaging not solely permits the localization of elements in meat merchandise, but in addition helps, for instance, in investigations of ‘sticky meat’ or so-called hydrolysate components, that are imagined to feign larger high quality when they aren’t declared on the packaging. It might subsequently be helpful in detecting shopper deception in meat merchandise and higher shield customers on this respect as effectively,” says Prof. Römpp.

Kiwifruit and carrots

The appliance potential within the subject of vegetables and fruit is demonstrated by research on kiwifruit and carrots. The “mini kiwi” (Actinidia arguta) is just not solely candy, but in addition has quite a few health-promoting bioactive elements. Utilizing pattern slices that had been only some hundredths of a millimeter thick and cooled all the way down to a temperature of minus 40 levels, the Bayreuth bioanalysts visualized the distribution of a number of substances within the pores and skin and flesh: sugar molecules (disaccharides), antioxidant polyphenol and a fats (lipid) attribute of kiwis. In carrots, in flip, molecules of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, had been detected. As well as, it was additionally attainable to determine the spatial distribution and typical molecular buildings of various dyes (anthocyanins) that give carrots an orange, yellow or violet coloration.

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An analytical methodology with out dyes

“Our research makes it clear that MS imaging is a worthwhile addition to already established meals evaluation strategies: It presents new insights into the spatial distribution and relative proportions of elements. It has the good benefit that the molecules of the elements shouldn’t have to be labeled with dyes or different labeling strategies. On the College of Bayreuth—inside the newly established School VII of Life Sciences: Meals, Diet and Well being—we are going to proceed to work sooner or later on refining the analytical capabilities of imaging mass spectrometry, combining it with different meals evaluation instruments, and making use of it to elements not beforehand studied. On this method, we on the College of Bayreuth could make essential contributions to shopper safety,” says Prof. Römpp.

On imaging mass spectrometry (MS)

MS differs from different analytical strategies corresponding to UV, fluorescence, infrared or nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in that it isn’t depending on explicit properties of the molecules and atoms—i.e. neither on gentle absorption or fluorescence nor on nuclear spin, the angular momentum of an atomic nucleus round its middle of gravity. If two molecules or atoms differ in mass, this distinction will be made seen by mass spectrometry. On this respect, a mass spectrometer is just like a scale for atoms and molecules—the one distinction being that it’s a number of million instances extra correct and delicate than any kitchen scale.

Earlier than any mass spectrometric evaluation, it’s essential to ionize the molecules of the substances to be recognized, in order that charged particles are created. It’s because solely charged particles will be deflected and accelerated by the magnetic and electrical fields used within the mass spectrometer. One ionization methodology that can be used on the Chair of Bioanalytics and Meals Evaluation on the College of Bayreuth is the matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). Right here, a matrix substance is positioned on the pattern after which irradiated with a laser. Imaging mass spectrometry (MS imaging) combines details about molecules obtained from MS with spatial data: by scanning a pattern floor and irradiating a distinct spot on the pattern every time, pixel by pixel, a mass spectrum will be recorded for every level that the laser has hit.

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Extra data:
Julia Kokesch-Himmelreich et al, MALDI mass spectrometry imaging: From constituents in recent meals to elements, contaminants and components in processed meals, Meals Chemistry (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2022.132529

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Mass spectrometry imaging makes elements, components and contaminants of meals seen (2022, July 20)
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