Dana-Maria Bunaciu presenting her master's thesisMycotoxins are a class of food contaminants that are synthesized by certain species of fungi. Differently from, e.g. pesticides, mycotoxins are non-anthropogenic – they are not added to food by humans. However, correctness in handling and production of food can influence mycotoxin content significantly. Due to their high toxicity mycotoxins are among priority contaminants that are monitored in food. From measurement point of view they are problematic compounds to determine: (1) their levels in food are very low (in the ppb range); (2) they occur in foods with difficult-to handle matrix (Cereals, nuts, …) and (3) due to their chemical nature they are difficult to separate from the food matrix. The primary analytical tool used currently for mycotoxin determination is LC-MS (liquid chromatography mass spectrometry), most commonly with the electrospray (ESI) ion source.
A master’s thesis on mycotoxin determination in maize (corn) flour – Developing an HPLC-ESI-MS/MS method for simultaneous determination of mycotoxins in maize flour and other matrices – was defended on Jun 8 by AMS student Dana-Maria Bunaciu. The work was performed at the Tartu Laboratory of the Estonian Health board and the developed method will be put into routine use there in autumn 2010.

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