New method for determination of cyanogenic glycosides in food

Cyanogenic glycosides are natural substances in certain food crops including cassava, almonds, stone fruits, apple(seeds), bamboo shoots, linseed and derived products (marzipan, nougat, linseed oil). After consumption of these products enzymatic hydrolysis occurs and cyanide is released which in high doses may cause health issues. For this reason maximum limits have been set in the EU.

Contact: Hans Mol (
Cluster: Natural Toxins & Pesticides (NTP)
Date: 2014

Current analysis methods for cyanogenic glycosides are based on generation and measurement of cyanide by spectroscopic techniques or by HPLC-UV. This requires a specific dedicated method and, furthermore, the method may lack specificity. Nowadays, the intact cyanogenic glycosides can be measured by liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (LC-MS). This is more straightforward. In addition this allows determination of cyanogenic glycosides together with other toxins which is more efficient.

The topic of the internship is the development of an LC-MS-based method for the determination of the most abundant cyanogenic glycosides in food products. After that the method needs to be validated and compared with the existing methods by analysis of selected food products.  

Main techniques

The main technique will be LC-MS(/MS) (triple quadrupole and/or high resolution).

What we are asking

  • Enthusiastic student with a background in analytical chemistry (HLO or MSc)
  • Basic knowledge of chromatography and mass spectrometry
  • Available for a period of at least three months

What we offer

Expert guidance during the internship in a state-of-the art food/feed safety laboratory.