Journal of chromatography. A

Simultaneous quantification of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in cheese by on-line static headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

PMID 26187762


Trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) are the two most prevalent classes of disinfection by-products (DBPs) that are present in treated water. Four THMs and six HAAs are regulated by several countries in drinking waters but no regulation for these DBPs has been established in foods. THMs are volatile species that can easily be determined by static headspace (SHS)-GC-MS, but HAAs require a derivatisation step to make them suitable for GC due to their polar and hydrophilic nature. This paper describes the first analytical method that performs the simultaneous determination of 10 THMs and 13 HAAs (chlorinated, brominated and iodinated) in cheeses by SHS in one unique GC-MS run. Parameters controlling leaching, centrifugation, derivatisation and volatilisation were optimised taking into account the high volatility of THMs and the thermal instability of HAAs. To increase sensitivity, 3g of cheese was extracted with 10mL of water at pH 4.5-7.7, and after centrifugation the supernatant (∼8mL) was introduced into an HS vial for the derivatisation (HAAs) and volatilisation (HAA esters and THMs) of the species in an automatic SHS unit coupled to GC-MS. Detection limits within the range of 0.05-0.50 and 0.15-0.85μg/kg for THMs and HAAs, respectively, were obtained, and the relative standard deviation was lower than 10% for all the target analytes. Recoveries throughout the whole method were between 85-90% and 92-97% for THMs and HAAs, respectively. The SHS-GC-MS method was applied for the determination of THMs and HAAs in 3 groups of Spanish cheeses, which can be contaminated through contact with treated water during the manufacturing steps. Up to 2 THMs and 4 HAAs were found at μg/kg levels in the samples analysed.