Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction from Food Simulating Solvents: Preliminary Studies


App Note 3/2002

The FDA requires that any food-contact materials that may reasonably be expected to migrate into food must conform to existing regulations or be included in a petition proposing a new regulation. Alternatively, a no-migration status can be established by showing the packaging component is not detectable in food with a method with a LOD typically in the 1-50 ppb range. Since determination of trace component migration into complex food matrices is extremely difficult if not impossible, the FDA has established acceptable food simulating solvents to use for migration testing. These solvents (water, 3% acetic acid, 10% ethanol and 95% ethanol) comprise much simpler matrices and minimize the potential for interference. Simpler matrix notwithstanding, developing reliable analytical methods for low ppb LOD can be a formidable challenge. Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE) followed by thermal desorption GC has been shown to provide excellent detection limits for non-polar analytes in the low ppb – ppt range. Polar matrix components such as ethanol and acetic acid do not partition into the PDMS phase on the stir bar, minimizing potential interference during analysis. This technique is therefore compatible with the FDA specified food simulating solvents. Model compounds spanning a wide polarity range were spiked into the food simulating solvents, extracted by SBSE using GERSTEL Twister stir bars, and recovered by thermal desorption GC. The presence of solvents in the sample matrix reduced analyte recovery in the stir bar, with the largest effect seen for compounds with octanol:water partition coefficients less than 500. Since partitioning into the PDMS phase is proportional to the octanol/water partition coefficient and predictable, these results provide guidelines for the types and polarities of analytes amenable to this technique.