A critical assessment of the performance criteria in confirmatory analysis for veterinary drug residue analysis using mass spectrometric detection in selected reaction monitoring mode

Bjorn J.A. Berendsen*, Thijs Meijer, Robin Wegh, Hans G.J. Mol, Wesley G. Smyth, S. Armstrong Hewitt, Leen van Ginkel, Michel W.F. Nielen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Besides the identification point system to assure adequate set-up of instrumentation, European Commission Decision 2002/657/EC includes performance criteria regarding relative ion abundances in mass spectrometry and chromatographic retention time. In confirmatory analysis, the relative abundance of two product ions, acquired in selected reaction monitoring mode, the ion ratio should be within certain ranges for confirmation of the identity of a substance. The acceptable tolerance of the ion ratio varies with the relative abundance of the two product ions and for retention time, CD 2002/657/EC allows a tolerance of 5%. Because of rapid technical advances in analytical instruments and new approaches applied in the field of contaminant testing in food products (multi-compound and multi-class methods) a critical assessment of these criteria is justified. In this study a large number of representative, though challenging sample extracts were prepared, including muscle, urine, milk and liver, spiked with 100 registered and banned veterinary drugs at levels ranging from 0.5 to 100 µg/kg. These extracts were analysed using SRM mode using different chromatographic conditions and mass spectrometers from different vendors. In the initial study, robust data was collected using four different instrumental set-ups. Based on a unique and highly relevant data set, consisting of over 39 000 data points, the ion ratio and retention time criteria for applicability in confirmatory analysis were assessed. The outcomes were verified based on a collaborative trial including laboratories from all over the world. It was concluded that the ion ratio deviation is not related to the value of the ion ratio, but rather to the intensity of the lowest product ion. Therefore a fixed ion ratio deviation tolerance of 50% (relative) is proposed, which also is applicable for compounds present at sub-ppb levels or having poor ionisation efficiency. Furthermore, it was observed that retention time shifts, when using gradient elution, as is common practice nowadays, are mainly observed for early eluting compounds. Therefore a maximum retention time deviation of 0.2 min (absolute) is proposed. These findings should serve as input for discussions on the revision of currently applied criteria and the establishment of a new, globally accepted, criterion document for confirmatory analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-490
JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
Volume8
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Keywords

  • confirmatory analysis
  • ion ratio
  • liquid chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • performance criteria

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