Assessment of the determination of azodicarbonamide and its decomposition product semicarbazide: investigation of variation in flour and flour products

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Sep 14;59(17):9313-8. doi: 10.1021/jf201819x. Epub 2011 Aug 5.


Azodicarbonamide, as a bleaching agent and improving agent, is a permitted food additive in certain countries and can be determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. However, it partially degrades with the heat of processing to form trace amounts of semicarbazide, which shows carcinogenicity and also has been shown to cause tumors. The concentration of semicarbazide in azodicarbonamide-treated flour was determined by isotope dilution ((13)C, (15)N(2)-semicarbazide) liquid chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The quantification was obtained utilizing the homologous internal standard. The limits of detection were 1 mg/kg for azodicarbonamide and 0.5 × 10(-3) mg/kg for semicarbazide. The rates of recovery were 82.3-103.1% for azodicarbonamide and 72.4-116.5% for semicarbazide. This study prepared four different types of flour products to investigate the variation of semicarbazide. The concentration of semicarbazide in all types of flour products is higher than that in flour, and the concentration of semicarbazide in outside of flour products is slightly higher than that in the inside. As the problem of food safety hazard aggravates daily, we should be more concerned about food security and human health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azo Compounds / analysis*
  • Bread / analysis
  • Carcinogens / analysis*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Flour / analysis*
  • Food Additives / analysis
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Hot Temperature
  • Indicator Dilution Techniques
  • Semicarbazides / analysis*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Azo Compounds
  • Carcinogens
  • Food Additives
  • Semicarbazides
  • carbamylhydrazine
  • azodicarbonamide