Tel.+49 30 838 52256 Fax.+49 30 838-55938
The paper describes a method for the sensitive and selective determination of zearalenone and its metabolites in urine, plasma and faeces of horses by high performance liquid chromatography and atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation (APCI) mass spectrometry (MS). While only one step sample clean-up by an immunoaffinity column (IAC) was sufficient for plasma samples, urine and faeces samples had to be prepared by a combination of a solid-phase extraction (SPE) and an immunoaffinity column. The method allows the simultaneous determination of zearalenone and all of its metabolites; alpha-zearalenol, beta-zearalenol, alpha-zearalanol, beta-zearalanol and zearalanone. Dideuterated zearalanone was used as internal standard for quantification and the study of the matrix effect. Recovery rates between 56 and slightly above 100% were achieved in urine samples, and more than 80% in plasma and faeces samples. The limits of detection ranged from 0.1-0.5 microg/l or microg/kg, the limits of quantification from 0.5-1.0 microg/l or microg/kg. The practical use of the method is demonstrated by the analysis of spiked and naturally contaminated urine, plasma and faeces of horses.