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Tropane alkaloids in cereals (P1506-RT)

PROOF-ACS offered a ring test related to tropane alkaloids in buckwheat flour in May/June 2015:

  • Dispatch of samples:
    May 26, 2015
  • Deadline for reporting results:
    June 11, 2015

Tropane alkaloids (TA) are naturally formed in plants like thorn apple, henbane or deadly nightshade. The seeds of thorn apple and henbane are most likely the main source of contamination in cereals and oil seeds like buckwheat, linseed, millet, and sunflower seeds. 

Out of more than 200 tropane alkaloids only two alkaloids - (-)-hyoscyamine and (-)-scopolamine - are examined in food on a significant scale at present. The EFSA published monitoring data related to the occurrence of TA in food in 2013 [1]. The main focus of the EFSA study was the quantification of levels of contamination of TA in food for infants and toddlers ("Simple cereals that are or have to be reconstituted with milk…"). An ARfD of 0.016 µg/kg body weight (sum of (-)-hyoscyamin and (-)-scopolamine) was deducted from the exposure data as a health based guidance value. 

Up to now, no standard method has been published for the quantification of TA in food. Thus, the participation in a ring test is important to test the reliability of in-house methods. This ring test will help to identify possible areas of improvement and to enhance the quality of the applied methods. 

One sample of buckwheat flour (100 g) was provided as test material. The flour was spiked with hyoscyamine (isomeric mixture) and (-)-scopolamine.

The analytical data were assessed with respect to

  • the comparability of results (z-score), and
  • the trueness of results (70 to 120% of the spiked level).

A summary of the report is available here.

The participation fee was 750 EUR (shipment included) and blank material (100 g of buckwheat flour) was available at a price of 70 EUR upon request.



[1] EFSA, Scientific opinion on tropane alkaloids in food and feed,
      EFSA Journal 2013; 11 (10): 3386.