Occurrence of emerging mycotoxins in cereals and cereal-based products from the Korean market using LC-MS/MS

The present study aimed to investigate the occurrence of emerging mycotoxins in cereals (n = 61) and cereal-based products (n = 36) collected from Korean market. First of all, using the quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe (QuEChERS) extraction method, and ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography (UPLC) with triple quadruple tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), we developed a simple and fast method for quantitative determination of eight emerging mycotoxins including alternariol (AOH), alternariol monomethyl ether (AME), tentoxin (TEN), beauvericin (BEA) and enniatins (ENs; ENA, ENA1, ENB and ENB1). The developed analytical method was validated in parameters of linearity, precision and accuracy. For UPLC-MS/MS analysis, the recoveries of emerging mycotoxins from spiked samples at three concentration levels ranged from 82.7% to 108.8% with RSDs between 0.4% and 14.7%. Analytical methods were applied to determine the contamination of mycotoxins in cereal and cereal-based product samples. Sixty-three of the total 97 samples were contaminated with at least one emerging mycotoxin. The maximum number of emerging mycotoxins observed in a single sample was six out of eight analytes. The highest level of contamination was detected in cereal at 70.9 μg/kg for alternariol monomethyl ether (AME). However, currently there is no international standard for emerging mycotoxins in food. Accordingly, it is necessary to establish a database of emerging mycotoxins contamination through continuous monitoring.