A procedure for determining small quantities of gliadins by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOFMS) in gluten-free foods containing relatively large amounts of prolamin proteins from maize or rice is described. We report for the first time that gliadins, the ethanol-soluble wheat prolamin fraction, can be quantitatively solubilized in 1.0 M acetic acid, while the corresponding ethanol-soluble maize or rice prolamin fraction remains insoluble in acetic acid. We describe a methodology for the detection of gliadins in maize and rice foods based on a two-step procedure of extraction (60% aqueous ethanol followed by 1 M acetic acid). Subsequent MALDI-TOFMS analysis of the resulting acidic extract from these gluten-free foods clearly confirms the presence of a typical mass pattern corresponding to gliadin components, ranging from 30 to 45 kDa. Depending on the percentages of maize or rice flours employed in the elaboration of these foods, the combined procedure enables levels of gliadins from 100 to 400 ppm to be detected. The efficiency of this combined procedure corroborates enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay data for a large number of maize/rice gluten-free foods by means of direct visualization of the characteristic gliadin mass pattern in maize or rice foods.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.