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Business & Education Food, Beverage & Agriculture, Business

Joining Forces: Breaking the Mold

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Franz Berthiller: Mycotoxins are poisonous metabolites produced by fungi, which can pose a serious food safety threat. A famous fungal metabolite is aflatoxin B1 – it’s one of the most carcinogenic compounds known to mankind, and we’re still finding it in food. John approached us because BOKU is a leading center focused on researching mycotoxins, with expertise from analytical scientists, toxicologists, and plant biologists. Mycotoxins are highly diverse and so we used to have separate methods for each mycotoxin, with different extraction, clean-up, and measuring modes. In 2005, I published the first method that could analyze nine mycotoxins at once. John wanted to work with us to come up with easier methods for mycotoxin testing, allowing Agilent to offer labs a “mycotoxin testing kit” including the instrument, method, standards and set-up. So Agilent offered to provide us with a high-end tandem quadrupole LC-MS instrument and technical support to help us in that goal.

John Lee: It’s academics like Franz who truly understand not just how to make methods more efficient, but also to increase their scope – they’re the people we want to work with so we can offer truly cutting-edge workflows.

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  1. E Varga et al., “Stable isotope dilution assay for the accurate determination of mycotoxins in maize by UHPLC-MS/MS”, Anal Bioanal Chem, 402, 2675–2686 (2012).
  2. Agilent Technologies, “Simultaneous determination of 16 mycotoxins in cereals using an Agilent Triple Quadrupole LC/MS system and e-Method”. Available at: Accessed December 2017.
  3. E Varga et al., “Development and validation of a (semi-)quantitative UHPLC-MS/MS method for the determination of 191 mycotoxins and other fungal metabolites in almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and pistachios”, Anal Bioanal Chem, 405, 5087–5104 (2013).
  4. Agilent Technologies, “Screening and verifying mycotoxins in food with Q-TOF LC/MS and an accurate mass library.” Available at: Accessed December 2017.
  5. Agilent Technologies, “Mycotoxins and related metabolites personal compound database and library”. Available at: Accessed December 2017.
  6. Agilent Technologies, “Environmental and Food Meeting. Available at: Accessed December 2017.
  7. AV Nathanail et al., “Metabolism of the Fusarium mycotoxins T‑2 toxin and HT‑2 toxin in wheat”, J Agric Food Chem, 63, 7862−7872 (2015).

About the Authors

Franz Berthiller

Associate Professor, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), in Tulln, Austria.

John Lee

John Lee, Global Food Market Manager - Agilent Technologies.


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