For several years, the threats posed by the presence of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food have been of much concern. What could not be immediately identified, however, was a solution that proved both efficient and effective at testing for the chemical.1
The problems with existing methods lay primarily in sample preparation. Complicated extraction procedures that involved concentration and reconstitution were not only time-consuming, but also opened the door to variability due to errors in manual sample preparation.
A team of Thermo Fisher Scientific experts in Franklin, Massachusetts set out to change that. Their goal, by using automated sample preparation, was to develop a six-minute LC-MS/MS method for the assay of BPA in canned infant formula powder.2
In the food packaging industry, the use of BPA is widespread despite concerns regarding its safety. A primary chemical used in the making of plastics, BPA is relied upon heavily in the production of food and drink containers. While the FDA acknowledges this and states that consumption of very small quantities of the chemical is safe, consumption of larger amounts is thought to pose great risk.3
BPA has been shown to migrate from the plastic lining of metal containers into food, and high levels of the chemical have been linked to heart disease, diabetes and abnormalities in liver enzymes. Infants are at the greatest risk, as even extremely low levels of the chemical can prove harmful to them.4 An efficient testing method for canned infant formula, therefore, is vital to their safety.
To achieve such a method, Shi et al. coupled Thermo Scientific TurboFlow technology with a Thermo Scientific TSQ Vantage triple stage quadrupole mass spectrometer. Samples were taken from cans of formula powder purchased at a local supermarket in Massachusetts. 10 mL of AmAcACN solution was added to 1 gram of formula powder and centrifuged at 10,000 RPM for 30 minutes. Analysis was then performed using the aforementioned technology in an LC-MS/MS method with a total run time of just 5.6 minutes.
Results of the test showed that the method was sensitive enough to detect BPA at a level of 7.80μ/kg of formula powder; the maximum acceptable dose of BPA for humans is 50μ/kg of body weight per day.
The true benefit of the method, however, lies in its time efficiency. The automated sample preparation eliminates the need for time-consuming manual sample preparation methods. Furthermore, in comparison to a popular online solid phase extraction method with similar sample preparation times, the new LC-MS/MS method ran four times faster.
For further discussion on food and beverage testing, visit the Thermo Scientific Food and Beverage Community.
1 Ballesteros-Gomez, A. et al. (2009) ‘Analytical Methods for the Determination of Bisphenol A in Food.‘ Journal of Chromatography A, 1216. 449-469.
2 Shi, Y. et al. (2009) ‘Determination of Bisphenol A in Infant formula by Automated Sample Preparation and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry.’ Thermo Scientific Application Note: 474. [PDF]
3 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2013) ‘Questions & Answers on Bisphenol A (BPA) Use in Food Contact Application.‘ Food Additives & Ingredients.
4 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014) ‘Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in Food Contact Application.‘ Public Health Focus.