Simultaneous determination of heterocyclic aromatic amines and N-nitrosamines in fried bacon cubes and slices using LC-(ESI/APCI)-MS/MS

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Bacon manufacturing involves several processing steps including nitrite curing, followed by cooking processes, typically frying. During these processes, harmful processing contaminants such as N-nitrosamines (NAs) and heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) can be formed. Consequently, we developed and validated a multi-class method for quantification of the most frequently reported HAAs and NAs in fried bacon. Satisfactory repeatability and reproducibility with limits of quantification between 0.1 and 0.5 ng g-1 for most of the compounds were achieved. Quantification in pan-fried bacon cubes and slices revealed generally low levels of individual HAAs (≤1.5 ng g-1), except in ready-to-eat bacon (0.9-2.9 ng g-1). Differences in amounts of individual HAAs were observed in cubes and slices, most likely due to meat thickness. Among volatile NAs (VNAs), only N-nitrosopiperidine (NPIP), N-nitrosopyrolidine (NPYR), and N-nitrosodibutylamine (NDBA) were found at generally low concentrations (≤5 ng g-1). In contrast, non-volatile NAs (NVNAs) were present in all tested samples at considerably higher amounts, for example, N-nitroso-thiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (NTCA) at 12-77 ng g-1. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), N-nitrosodipropylamine (NDPA) were not detected in any samples. Statistical evaluation and principal component analysis revealed some differences among tested samples. Dietary exposure estimation of the Danish population to HAAs and NAs showed the highest exposure in the teenage group (10-17 years).
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)493-507
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Processing contaminants
  • Multi-class method
  • Fried bacon
  • Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry
  • Dietary exposure


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