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Atmospheric pressure gas chromatography coupled to quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometry as a powerful tool for identification of non intentionally added substances in acrylic adhesives used in food packaging materials

Canellas, E., Vera, P., Domeño, C., Alfaro, P., Nerín, C.
Journal of chromatography 2012 v.1235 pp. 141-148
adhesives, atmospheric pressure, biocides, food packaging, gas chromatography, ions, mass spectrometry, packaging materials
Acrylic adhesives are used to manufacture multilayer laminates that are used in food packaging to form the geometric shape of the package as well as to stick labels on the packages. Once applied on the packaging adhesives can supply potential migrants that could endanger the packaged food. Adhesives are complex matrices where intentionally and non intentionally added substances are present, but the identification of the migrants is required by law. In this study atmospheric pressure gas chromatography coupled to a quadrupole hyphenated to a time of flight mass spectrometer (APGC–MS/Q-TOF) has been explored for identification of unknowns coming from three different acrylic adhesives. The results are compared to those obtained by conventional GC–MS-Q (quadrupole). Sixteen compounds were identified by GC–MS/Q and five of them were confirmed by APGC–MS/Q-TOF as their molecular ions were found. Moreover, additional three new compounds were identified and their structure was elucidated working with the spectra obtained by APGC–MS/Q-TOF. This finding was very relevant as these compounds were biocides suspected to be allergenic and cytotoxic in humans. Migration studies were carried out using Tenax as solid food simulant and the results showed that the three acrylic adhesives tested in this work were safe for being used in food packaging materials since the migration of compounds previously identified was below the limit established in the current legislation.