NADES-assisted sample preparation as a greener alternative for mycotoxins determination in apple-based products

Laura Carbonell-Rozas*, Federico Ferrari, Laura Righetti*, Chiara Dall'Asta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


While impressive advancements have been reported in mycotoxin analysis over the last decade, very little has been done to realign the sample treatment to the green sample preparation principles, which are arising more and more relevance in the current analytical chemistry. In this regard, this work proposes the first NADES-assisted sample preparation for the extraction of mycotoxins in food samples. Two protocols using dispersive liquid–liquid microextraction (DLLME) and DLLME with solidification of floating organic drop (DLLME-SFO) assisted with a natural deep eutectic solvent (NADES) were developed and assessed as green sample preparation procedures to extract mycotoxins from apple-based products prior to HPLC-MS/MS analysis. The selected mycotoxins were alternariol, alternariol monomethyl ether, tentoxin and ochratoxin A, which are known to occur in these food matrices. The main variables affecting the extraction efficiency, such as volume of dispersive and extraction solvents, as well as the salting-out effect were evaluated and optimized using a central composite design. In addition, both methodologies were examined and compared in terms of greenness using the newly released metric tool AGREEprep. Due to the use of NADES, the DLLME-SFO method achieved a higher greenness score, and it was selected for further characterization. Matrix-matched calibration curves were used, showing a satisfactory linearity (R2 > 0.99). Limits of detection (LODs) and quantification (LOQs) were below 0.25 and 0.8 µg kg−1, respectively. Recoveries were above 72 % for all the mycotoxins studied in both apple juice and apple puree samples. The validated DLLME-SFO-HPLC-MS/MS method was applied to the analysis of commercial apple juice and puree samples. All the samples analysed were contaminated with at least one mycotoxin with a total concentration ranging from 0.4 to 10.5 µg kg−1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108887
JournalMicrochemical Journal
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Apple-based products
  • Mycotoxins


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