Mycotoxin Sample Size: A Key Component in Accurate Testing
The mycotoxin test procedure is a three-step process that includes sampling, sample preparation, and analysis. Each of these steps contributes to the overall uncertainty of the test procedure since it is difficult to obtain an accurate estimation of the mycotoxin concentration in a bulk lot1. One way to help reduce the amount of uncertainty in the test procedure is to ensure that the sample being used is of adequate mass and from an adequate number of points throughout the lot. Since mycotoxins are distributed heterogeneously throughout a lot, using a reduced sample weight or too few samples represent two of the most frequent errors that result in an overall increase in result uncertainty2.
A representative sample can be created by collecting small incremental samples from several randomly chosen areas of the material lot. These smaller samples can then be combined to create the large single aggregate sample that is submitted for analysis. For commodities that have a large particle size, such as nuts/grains, a larger sample size of up to 10 pounds is recommended. Commodities that are more homogenous in nature with a smaller particle size, such as flour, can use a smaller total sample size for testing. Once the laboratory receives the representative sample for testing, the full sample amount sent is homogenized prior to testing. This ensures uniform distribution of mycotoxins throughout the sample portion.
There are several resources available that can help you in developing your sample plan:
European Commission Regulation (EC) No 401/2006
USDA Mycotoxin Handbook
NQAC Dublin has the capability to test for a variety of mycotoxins that may be of concern in your product or material. We currently have testing options for the following compounds:
|Altenuene||LI-00.056 Alternaria Toxins by LC-MS/MS
|Alternariol monomethyl ether|
|Atropine||LI-00.027 Tropane Alkaloids by LC-MS/MS
|Patulin||LI-00.219 Patulin by LC-MS/MS|
|Aflatoxin B1||LI-00.185 Mycotoxins in Foodstuffs by LC-MS/MS
|3-Acetyldeoxynivalenol + 15- Acetyldeoxynivalenol|
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- Whitaker, Thomas. (2006). Sampling Foods for Mycotoxins. Food additives and contaminants. 23. 50-61. 10.1080/02652030500241587.
- Cheli, Federica & Campagnoli, Anna & Pinotti, Luciano & Eleonora, Fusi & Dell’Orto, Vittorio. (2010). Sampling feed for mycotoxins: Acquiring knowledge from food. Italian Journal of Animal Science. 8. 10.4081/ijas.2009.5.