Bin Li, Sew Lay Chua, Dingyi Yu, Sheot Harn Chan, Angela Li

Determination and Characterization of Gold Nanoparticles in Liquor Using Asymmetric Flow Field-Flow Fractionation Hyphenated with Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science

The EU has approved the usage of gold as a food additive (E175) and it has been applied in numerous foods for coloring and decoration purposes. Different from the general assumption that edible gold is mainly present in the form of flakes or external coating in foods, this work demonstrated that gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) can be released from gold flakes and extracted under optimized conditions. To support future risk assessment associated with the exposure of Au NPs to human health, an effective approach was established in this study for both size characterization and mass determination of Au NPs released in a commercial gold-containing liquor using Asymmetric Flow Field-flow Fractionation (AF4) hyphenated with Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Our results showed that no Au NPs were detected in the original liquor product and only after ultrasonication for several minutes did Au NPs occur in the ultrasound-treated liquor. Particularly, Au NPs released in the liquor can be well extracted after 100-fold enrichment of gold flakes and the subsequent ultrasonication for 25 min. Size characterization of Au NPs was conducted by AF4-ICP-MS under calibration with Au NP standards. The gold particle sizes detected ranged from 8.3–398.0 nm and the dominant size of the released Au NPs was around 123.7 nm in the processed liquor. The mass concentration of gold particles determined in the liquor sample with gold flakes concentrated and subsequently sonicated was 48.1 μg L−1 by pre-channel calibration and the overall detection recoveries ranged over 82–95%. For the comparison control samples without ultrasonication, there was no detection of Au NPs. The established method was demonstrated to be useful for monitoring Au NPs in liquor and is possibly applied to other similar foodstuffs.

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