Validation and application of an LC-MS/MS method for the determination of cyclic oligomers originating from polyamide 6 and polyamide 66 in food simulant.
Polyamides (PAs) are used in the production of various food contact materials (FCMs) and articles such as kitchen utensils and packaging material. Cyclic oligomers have been identified as potential migrants from PA. This study describes the development, validation and application of a multi-oligomer analytical method based on LC-ESI-MS/MS for the identification and quantification of eight cyclic oligomers of PA 6 and four PA 66 migrating from FCMs into food simulant B (3% acetic acid) and beverages. It was proved that doubly charged precursor ions of the cyclic PA 6 and PA 66 oligomers above a mass of 500 Da are formed during the ionisation process of the electrospray technique used. Direct injection of a diluted food simulant into the LC-ESI-MS/MS system after migration makes the validated method a valuable tool for investigating migration of cyclic PA oligomers. The validation results demonstrate that the multi-oligomer method is applicable for the analysis of cyclic PA 6 and PA 66 oligomers in food simulant B. For all investigated cyclic PA oligomers, detection limits were in the range of 0.1-1.1 µg/l. Linearity (r2 ≥ 0.99), trueness values between 91% and 122%, and intra-day (RSDr < 10%) and inter-day precision (RSDR < 19%) were determined and satisfied validation criteria set out by the European Reference Laboratory for FCMs. The method was extended to tap water and tea. Finally, the multi-oligomer method was successfully applied to determine cyclic PA oligomers in migration solutions originating from different PA FCMs. In all migration solutions, concentrations of cyclic PA oligomers were determined above the LOQ. A preliminary risk assessment based on in silico tools was performed. The results demonstrate the urgent need for toxicological data that would facilitate the evaluation of the health risk of cyclic PA oligomers.
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