Chromatographic Determination of the Mycotoxin Patulin in 219 Chinese Tea Samples and Implications for Human Health

Hai Li, Candi Liu, Shurong Luo, Sijie Zhu, Shan Tang, Huimei Zeng, Yu Qin, Ming Ma, Dong Zeng*, Teris A. van Beek*, Hui Wang, Bo Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Patulin (PAT) is a mycotoxin, with several acute, chronic, and cellular level toxic effects, produced by various fungi. A limit for PAT in food of has been set by authorities to guarantee food safety. Research on PAT in tea has been very limited although tea is the second largest beverage in the world. In this paper, HPLC−DAD and GC−MS methods for analysis of PAT in different tea products, such as non‐fermented (green tea), partially fermented (oolong tea, white tea, yellow tea), completely fermented (black tea), and post‐fermented (dark tea and Pu‐erh tea) teas were devel-oped. The methods showed good selectivity with regard to tea pigments and 5‐hydroxymethyl-furfural (5‐HMF) and a recovery of 90–102% for PAT at a 10–100 ppb spiking level. Limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) in tea were 1.5 ng/g and 5.0 ng/g for HPLC−UV, and 0.25 ng/g and 0.83 ng/g for GC−MS. HPLC was simpler and more robust, while GC−MS showed higher sensitivity and selectivity. GC−MS was used to validate the HPLC−UV method and prove its accuracy. The PAT content of 219 Chinese tea samples was investigated. Most tea samples contained less than 10 ng/g, ten more than 10 ng/g and two more than 50 ng/g. The results imply that tea products in China are safe with regard to their PAT content. Even an extreme daily consumption of 25 g of the tea with the highest PAT content (124 ng/g), translates to an intake of only 3 μg/per-son/day, which is still an order of magnitude below the maximum allowed daily intake of 30 μg for an adult.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2852
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2022


  • GC−MS
  • mycotoxin detection
  • patulin
  • tea


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