A sensitive, selective and generic method has been developed for the simultaneous determination of the contents (μgkg−1 range) of both volatile nitrosamines (VNA) and non-volatile nitrosamines (NVNA) in processed meat products. The extraction procedure only requires basic laboratory equipment and a small volume of organic solvent. Separation and quantification were performed by the developed LC–(APCI/ESI)MS/MS method. The method was validated using spiked samples of three different processed meat products. Satisfactory recoveries (50–130%) and precisions (2–23%) were obtained for eight VNA and six NVNAs with LODs generally between 0.2 and 1μgkg−1, though for a few analyte/matrix combinations higher LODs were obtained (3 to 18μgkg−1). The validation results show that results obtained for one meat product is not always valid for other meat products. We were not able to obtain satisfactory results for N-nitrosohydroxyproline (NHPRO), N-nitrosodibenzylamine (NDBzA) and N-nitrosodiphenylamine (NDPhA). Application of the APCI interface improved the sensitivity of the method, because of less matrix interference, and gave the method a wider scope, as some NAs were ionisable only by APCI. However, it was only possible to ionize N-nitroso-thiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (NTCA) and N-nitroso-2-methyl-thiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (NMTCA) by ESI. The validated method was applied for the analysis of processed meat products and contents of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR), N-nitrosomethylaniline (NMA), N-nitrosoproline (NPRO), NTCA, and NMTCA were found in one or several nitrite cured meat products, whereas none were detected in non-nitrite cured bacon.
- Volatile N-nitrosamines
- Non-volatile N-nitrosamines
- Processed meat
- Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry
- Atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation
- Electro spray ionisation