A new and accurate method to quantify ochratoxin A (OA) in table wine has been developed. The method uses commercial immunoaffinity columns for clean-up and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection for quantification of the toxin. Wine was diluted with a solution containing 1% polyethylene glycol (PEG 8000) and 5% sodium hydrogencarbonate, filtered and applied to an OchraTest immunoaffinity column. The column was washed with a solution containing sodium chloride (2.5%) and sodium hydrogencarbonate (0.5%) followed by water. OA was eluted with methanol and quantified by reversed-phase HPLC with fluorometric detection (excitation wavelength 333 nm, emission wavelength 460 nm) using acetonitrile-water-acetic acid (99:99:2) as mobile phase. Average recoveries of OA from white, rosé and red wine samples spiked at levels from 0.04 to 10 ng/ml ranged from 88% to 103%, with relative standard deviations (RSDs) between 0.2 and 9.7%. Detection limit was 0.01 ng/ml based on a signal-to-noise ratio of 3:1. The method was applied successfully to 56 samples of red (38), rosé (8), white (9) and dessert (1) wine. The levels of OA ranged from <0.01 to 7.6 ng/ml with red wines more contaminated than rosé and white wines. A good correlation (r=0.987) was found by comparative analysis of 20 naturally contaminated samples using this method and the method of Zimmerli and Dick with better recoveries of OA and better performances for the new method. Several advantages of this method with respect to the actually available methods have been pointed out, with particular reference to red wine which appears to be the most difficult to analyze.
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