A new fast and sensitive method based on on-line solid-phase extraction on a fused-core precolumn coupled to liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection has been developed for ochratoxin A (OTA) and citrinin (CIT) determination in lager beer samples. Direct injection of 100 μL filtered beer samples into an on-line SPE-HPLC system enabled fast and effective sample extraction including separation in less than 6 min. Preconcentration of OTA and CIT from beer samples was performed on an Ascentis Express RP C18 guard column (5 × 4.6 mm), particle size 2.7 μm, with a mobile phase of methanol/0.5% aqueous acetic acid pH 2.8 (30:70, v/v) at a flow rate of 2.0 mL min(-1). The flow switch from extraction column to analytical column in back-flush mode was set at 2.0 min and the separation was performed on the fused-core column Ascentis Express Phenyl-Hexyl (100 × 4.6 mm), particle size 2.7 μm, with a mobile phase acetonitrile/0.5% aqueous acetic acid pH 2.8 in a gradient elution at a flow rate of 1.0 mL min(-1) and temperature of 50 °C. Fluorescence excitation/emission detection wavelengths were set at 335/497 nm. The accuracy of the method, defined as the mean recoveries of OTA and CIT from light and dark beer samples, was in the range 98.3-102.1%. The method showed high sensitivity owing to on-line preconcentration; LOQ values were found to be 10 and 20 ng L(-1) for OTA and CIT, respectively. The found values of OTA and CIT in all tested light, dark and wheat beer samples were significantly below the maximum tolerable limits (3.0 μg kg(-1) for OTA and 2000 μg kg(-1) for CIT) set by the European Union.
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