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Kaltner, Florian; Rychlik, Michael; Gareis, Manfred; Gottschalk, Christoph (2018): Influence of Storage on the Stability of Toxic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids and Their N-Oxides in Peppermint Tea, Hay, and Honey. In: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 66, No. 20: pp. 5221-5228
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1,2-Dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) and PA-N-oxides (PANO) are phytotoxins, which presumably occur in more than 6,000 plant species worldwide. Plants containing PA/PANO are responsible for various food and feed poisonings recorded for decades. Main reasons of exposition of consumers and livestock are contaminations of food and animal feed with parts, seeds, pollen, or nectar of PA-containing plants. Concerning stability, effects of processing on PA were mainly investigated in the past. The current study examined the behavior of PA/PANO in unprocessed matrices peppermint tea, hay, and honey during storage. Blank samples were fortified with PA/PANO or contaminated with blueweed (Echium vulgare) and ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) and stored for 182 d. The time-series analysis using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) confirmed that all 25 analyzed PA/PANO compounds remained stable in herbal samples. However, the results showed a very fast decrease of PANO in honey samples within hours. These results were discussed with respect to potential consequences for health risk assessment.