Caramel colours are used by the food industry in a wide range of foods and beverages. During their manufacturing, low molecular weight compounds such as 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), the structural isomer of 4-MEI, 2-methylimidazole (2-MEI) and 2-acetyl-4-tetrahydroxy-butylimidazole (THI) are generated. The presence of these inevitable by-products of caramel manufacturing can be hazardous to human health. This publication describes an isotope dilution Ultra-High-performance Liquid Chromatography tandem mass spectrometric method (UHPLC-MS/MS) that was developed and validated for the simultaneous quantification of these impurities in both beverages/liquids and foods. A limit of quantification of 5 μg/kg was obtained for 4-MEI and THI. The expanded measurement uncertainty (U; k = 2) for these compounds was below 51% in beverages/liquids and below 56% in foods. As higher measurement uncertainties were obtained for 2-MEI, the developed analytical procedure can only be used in a semi-quantitative way for this compound.
Keywords: 2-Methylimidazole (Pubchem CID:12749); 2-acetyl-4-(1,2,3,4-tetrahydroxybutyl)imidazole; 2-acetyl-4-(1,2,3,4-tetrahydroxybutyl)imidazole (Pubchem CID:108037); 2-methylimidazole; 4-Methylimidazole (Pubchem CID:13195); 4-methylimidazole; Belgium; Beverages; Caramel colours; Food; Isotope dilution; Liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Quantification.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.