Anthraquinone: pesticide contamination or caused by drying?

24 marca 2016

Recently, GMP+ International closed an EWS case in which anthraquinone levels above the maximum permitted limit were detected in a batch of organic beet pulp from Ger-many. Although this case is meanwhile under control and the feed safety was not com-promised, GMP+ International believes it to be useful to inform participants about the cause of the contamination. With this information, you can take measures to determine the cause of the anthraquinone contamination.

Identified risks

Anthraquinone may have been added as pesticide, but can also be formed in incineration and drying processes.

In the relevant EWS case the presence of anthraquinone was initially attributed to a pesticide contamination. But additional analyses showed that the anthraquinone in the product was caused by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAK4) that were present in the product. PAK4 can emerge during the drying process, in which the product has come into direct contact with fuels.

Control measures

To be able to take the proper control measures, it is necessary to know the exact cause. GMP+ International advises all GMP+ certified companies to be alert to a possible identity change of anthraquinone. To be sure whether a sample to be analyzed contains anthraquinone:

  • An analysis must be carried out with the help of mass spectrometric technology. The mass spectrum of the anthraquinone differs enough from that of possible present PAK4.
  • In addition, it is strongly recommended to have the sample –in case of a positive result – analyzed for the presence of PAK4. This can be done with the help of mass spectrometric technology but also with fluorescence and UV. If the pesticide anthraquinone is detected in the sample, PAK4 can lead to a false positive result. Vice versa, if in a sample the pesticide anthraquinone has not been used or detected, the sample can still be contaminated with PAK4.

Feed Safety Assurance is a shared responsibility and begins with simple and consistent steps of individual companies.

For more information, please see the GMP+ Fact sheet Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH4).


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