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Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) are secondary plant substances synthesised in a number of plants for their protection against feeding enemies. One of the most prominent representatives is ragwort. Plants containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids grow as weeds between cereals, herbs and tea. Therefore, they can contaminate food during harvest. In addition, bees may contaminate honey by introducing pollen containing PA (e.g. echium, senecio and borage varieties).
Currently, there are no maximum limits for PA in food and feed. During the last couple of years, the BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) conducted studies about PA in honey and herbal tea. Because of the genotoxic and carcinogenic effect of PA, the BfR recommends decreasing the overall exposure of consumers to the lowest level possible.
For analysis of PA at GALAB, we apply the method described by the BfR. Using commercially available reference substances, 17 different PA compounds can be identified and quantified with a very good sensitivity. Our competent team is at your service and we offer determination of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in flours, tea, herbal tea and honey with limits of quantification down to 1 µg/kg.
BfR - Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in honey
BfR - Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in herbal teas and tea
BfR - Methode
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