Direct analysis of lateral flow immunoassays for deoxynivalenol using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Geballa-Koukoula, Ariadni; Gerssen, Arjen; Nielen, Michel W.F.


Lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) are widely used for rapid food safety screening analysis. Thanks to simplified protocols and smartphone readouts, LFIAs are expected to be increasingly used on-site, even by non-experts. As a typical follow-up in EU regulatory settings, suspect samples are sent to laboratories for confirmatory analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). However, re-analysis by LC-MS/MS is laborious and time-consuming. In this work, an identification LFIA (ID-LFIA) approach followed by quadrupole-orbitrap MS or triple quadrupole MS/MS analysis is presented. As a proof of concept, a dedicated ID-LFIA strip was developed for the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) following its initial screening by a commercial smartphone LFIA. The ID-LFIA strip can be simply immersed in the same sample extract used for the smartphone LFIA screening, and next, DON is retrieved from the monoclonal antibody with a dissociation solution consisting of methanol/ammonia. The solution thus obtained was analyzed directly in MS in order to rapidly confirm the presence of DON and any cross-reacting species. The protocol developed is capable of coping with severe ion suppression caused by LFIA buffers and nitrocellulose substrate residues. Initial analysis of blank, spiked, and incurred samples showed that the newly developed ID-LFIA-MS method was able to confirm the presence or absence of mycotoxins in the samples previously analyzed by LFIA and also differentiate between DON and DON 3-glucoside yielding the positive screening result. The concept and technique developed are envisaged to complement on-site screening and confirmation of any low molecular weight contaminant in future food control frameworks. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]