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Ricinoleic Acid as a Marker for Ergot Impurities in Rye and Rye Products

Franzmann, Carolin, Wachter, Johannes, Dittmer, Natascha, Humpf, Hans-Ulrich
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2010 v.58 no.7 pp. 4223–4229
ergot, rye, rye products, food contamination, food composition, ricinoleic acid, sclerotia, ergotamine, ergot alkaloids, food analysis, rye flour, breads, analytical methods, Germany
Ergot alkaloid and ricinoleic acid contents of 63 ergot sclerotia samples from rye throughout Germany of the harvest years 2006−2009 were determined. Alkaloid contents were analyzed by means of high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD) and ricinoleic acid contents by means of gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (GC-FID). Ergot alkaloid amounts ranged from 0.01 to 0.2 g/100 g of sclerotia with an average amount of 0.08 g/100 g. Ergotamine and ergocristine were identified as lead alkaloids representing 57% (w/w) of the total alkaloid content. The average ricinoleic acid amount in the ergot sclerotia was 10.3 g/100 g. Because of the low variation of ricinoleic acid content in the ergot sclerotia, a new method for the determination of ricinoleic acid in rye products as a marker for ergot contaminations was developed. This method allows the determination of ergot impurities as low as 0.01% (w/w). Furthermore, 29 rye products (flours, bread mix, bread) were investigated for their ricinoleic acid and ergot alkaloid contents.