Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are a class of toxic compounds found in the composition of more than 6000 plants. People can be exposed to PAs by consuming phytotherapeutic products, food from crops contaminated with seeds of some species with high content of PAs, and/ or contaminated animal products like bee products. For this reason we developed and validated a method for quantitative determination of PAs, from the most frequently contaminated food sources, honey and flour. Colorimetric Ehrlich reagent method was used with standard addition (1mg/kg senecionine). The extraction solvent was methanol 50% acidified with citric acid to pH 2-3, as this solvent can be used for alkaloids and N-oxides. We found that, in extracting the alkaloid only once from the dietary sources, the percent of recovery is low (52.5% for honey, and 45.75% for flour). Using successive extractions, three times with the same solvent, the senecionine retrieval percentage increased to 86.0% for honey and 76.0% for flour. The method was validated using the following parameters: selectivity, linearity (0,25- 20 mg/ mL senecionine), accuracy (average recovery 93.5 - 107.93%) and precision (RSD 3,26-4.55%.). The calculated limit of quantification (0.174 mg/ mL) makes this method applicable for determining Pas occurring at toxic levels for consumers.
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Șeremet, Oana C.; Olaru, Octavian T.; Ilie, Mihaela; Guțu, Claudia M.; Nițulescu, Mihai G.; Diaconu, Camelia; Motofei, Catalina; Margină, Denisa; Negreș, Simona; Zbârcea, Cristina E.; and Ștefănescu, Emil
"Determination of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in dietary sources using a spectrophotometric method,"
Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences: Vol. 5:
2, Article 22.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/jmms/vol5/iss2/22