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Analysis of sucralose and other sweeteners in water and beverage samples by liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry

A methodology for the chromatographic separation and analysis of three of the most popular artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose) in water and beverage samples was developed using liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/TOF-MS). The sweeteners were extracted from water samples using solid-phase extraction (SPE) cartridges. Furthermore, several beverages were analyzed by a rapid and simple method without SPE, and the presence of the sweeteners was confirmed by accurate mass measurements below 2-ppm error. The unambiguous confirmation of the compounds was based on accurate mass measurements of the protonated molecules [M+H]+, their sodium adducts and their main fragment ions. Quantitation was carried out using matrix-matched standard calibration and linearity of response over 2 orders of magnitude was demonstrated (r  0.99). A detailed fragmentation study for sucralose was carried out by time-of-flight and a characteristic spectrum fingerprint pattern was obtained for the presence of this compound in water samples. Finally, the analysis of several wastewater, surface water and groundwater samples from the US showed that sucralose can be found in the aquatic environment at concentrations up to 2.4 μg/L, thus providing a good indication of wastewater input from beverage sources.

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