Best poster price for NARILIS PhD student Mélanie Planque at the symposium "Trends in Food Analysis VIII"

The chemist Mélanie Planque works as a PhD student at the Health Department of the CER Groupe in Marloie. Her doctoral research focuses on the detection of food allergens by mass spectrometry in processed foodstuffs, with the aim to improve food labelling. This work is running in partnership with Prof. Thierry Arnould (UNamur, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology) and Prof. Patsy Renard (UNamur Mass Spectrometry platform). The project is supported by the Walloon region (ALLERMASS project – FIRST DoCA program).

On the 24th of May, Mélanie Planque participated to the event "Trends in Food Analysis VIII" in Ghent. This one-day scientific symposium dedicated to recent advances in food analysis was co-organized by the Royal Flemish Chemical Society (KVCV) and the University of Ghent. At this occasion, Mélanie presented a poster with the results of her research. Her communication entitled "Multi-allergen detection by UHPLC-MS/MS in incurred and processed foodstuffs" was awarded the Best Poster Price!


Multi-allergen detection by UHPLC-MS/MS in incurred and processed foodstuffs

M. Planque1, 2, T. Arnould2, P. Renard2, M. Dieu2, Ph. Delahaut1, N. Gillard1

1 CER Groupe, Health Department, rue du point du jour, 8, 6900 Marloie, Belgium.

2 Laboratory of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (URBC)-Namur Research Institute for Life Sciences (NARILIS), University of Namur, 61, rue de Bruxelles, 5000 Namur, Belgium

Worldwide, food allergy is a significant health problem. While, food industry and clinician are working on the management of cross-contaminations and treatments, respectively, laboratories must develop efficient analytical methods to ensure the detection of hidden allergens that can cause severe adverse reactions. The RASFF “Food and feed safety alerts” and the FDA “food and drug administration” reported than the most common products involved in food recalls remain cereals and bakery products. The prevalence of baked product recalls confirms that laboratories must developed sensitive methods for the detection of allergens in processed foodstuffs.

With the goal of improving the food allergen labeling, milk, egg, soybean and peanut were incurred and processed into chocolate, ice cream sauce (45 min-95°C) and cookies (18 min-180°C). Food allergen peptides were then analyzed by ultra-high liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometer (UHPLC-MS/MS), with a targeted limit of quantification (LOQ) lower than 2.5, 0.75, 25 and 5 mg for milk, egg, soy and peanut proteins, respectively, per kg of food products (in agreement with VITAL recommendations for a portion size of 40 g of food).

The selected and optimized sample protocol consists in the extraction of food proteins, followed by a trypsin digestion, a clean-up and finally an analysis by UHPLC-MS/MS. To determine the sensitivity of this method, a single and common LOQ, based on a signal to noise ratio higher than 10, were defined in the targeted matrices. The LOQs (expressed as total proteins) are 0.5 mg/kg of milk proteins for caseins, 5 mg/kg of milk proteins for whey milk, 3.4 mg/kg of egg proteins for egg white, 30.8 mg/kg of egg proteins for egg yolk, 2.5 mg/kg of peanut proteins and 5 mg/kg of soybean proteins. To the best of our knowledge, this method allows the most sensitive currently available for the detection of allergens in several complex and processed matrices by UHPLC-MS/MS.