Heterocyclic amines (HAs) were analysed in meat extract samples using a new method based on pressurised liquid extraction (PLE) and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. This method combines the use of a pressurised fluid with a triple quadrupole MS/MS system, resulting in benefits from both systems: high extraction efficiency and sensitivity. The effects of solvent type and PLE operational parameters, such as temperature and extraction time, were studied to obtain maximum recovery of the analytes with minimum contamination. HA extraction was best achieved using dichloromethane/acetone (50/50, v/v) at 80 °C for 10 min. Recoveries ranged from 45% to 79% with good quality parameters: limit of detection values between 0.02 and 1 ng g−1, linearity (r2 > 0.997), and run-to-run and day-to-day precisions with relative standard deviations lower than 13% achieved at both low (0.20 μg g−1) and medium (1.0 μg g−1) concentrations. This method reduces sample manipulation and total extraction time by nearly four-fold compared to conventional solid phase extraction. The optimised method was validated using laboratory reference material based on a meat extract, and was successfully applied to HA analysis in several cooked beef samples.
- Heterocyclic amines
- Meat samples
- Pressurised liquid extraction
- Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry