Determination of ergot alkaloids in feed by HPLC

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Abstract

A HPLC method for the determination of ergometrine, ergotamine, ergocristine, α-ergocryptine and ergocornine in cereals for animal feed and in mixed feed with high cereal content was developed. Samples were extracted under acidic conditions using a mixture of phosphoric acid and acetonitrile, the extract purified with solid phase extraction cartridges (strong cation exchange), and ergot alkaloids detected after gradient elution on a C18 column by HPLC with fluorescence detection. Detection and determination limits for each individual alkaloid were at 5 (μ;/kg and 10 (μ;g/kg, respectively. With this method, high recovery (82–120%) and good reproducibility was achieved for wheat, rye and mixed feeds, at a sum of total determined alkaloids of < 500 (μ;g/kg. This method was used to analyse Bavarian feeds (n=124) over three years (2005–2007), and ergot alkaloids were detected in 91 % of the samples. The majority of positive samples had ergot alkaloid contents of < 250 μ;g/kg, the median alkaloid level was at 70 (μ;g/kg. The maximum sum of total determined alkaloids exceeded 1000 (μ;g/kg in wheat, triticale, rye, and mixed feeds, the highest result was obtained for mixed feed (4880 (μ;g/kg).

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