Introduction: Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are secondary metabolites produced by many plant species. Due to their toxicity PAs can pose a risk to human and animal health. To detect the toxic compounds in feed materials a sensitive method based on liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry has been developed.
Material and Methods: PAs were extracted with sulphuric acid and purified with cation exchange cartridges. A newly developed solvent mixture consisting of ethyl acetate, methanol, acetonitrile, ammonia, and triethylamine was used to wash alkaloids from the cartridges. After evaporation the residues were reconstituted in water and methanol mixture and subjected to LC-MS analysis.
Results: The developed method was validated according to SANTE/11945/2015 guidelines. The recovery was from 84.1% to 112.9%, the repeatability ranged from 3.0% to 13.6%, and the reproducibility was from 4.8% to 18.9%.
Conclusions: A sensitive and selective method for determination of PAs in feed materials has been developed and validated. All evaluated validation parameters were in accordance with EU Reference Laboratories document no. SANTE/11945/2015. Almost 41% of the analysed feed samples were positive for the presence of at least one PA.