• 1 Centre for Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia; Pharmacy Enforcement Division, Ministry of Health, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 46200, Malaysia
  • 2 Centre for Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia
  • 3 Centre for Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia. Electronic address:
Talanta, 2019 Nov 01;204:36-43.
PMID: 31357306 DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2019.05.078


As a widely consumed beverage, coffee tends to be a target for intentional adulteration. This study describes the application of modified quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) coupled to liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) for simultaneous screening, identification, and quantification of undeclared phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors in instant coffee premixes (ICPs). The mass spectrometer was operated in auto MS/MS acquisition for simultaneous MS and MS/MS experiments. Qualitative establishments from the suspected-target screening and targeted identification processes led to an unambiguous analyte assignment from the protonated molecule ([M+H]+) precursor ion which is subsequently used for quantification of 23 targeted PDE5 inhibitors. The analytical method validation covered specificity, linearity, range, accuracy, limit of detection (LOD), limit of quantification (LOQ), precisions, matrix effect (ME), and extraction recovery (RE). The specificity was established using the optimised chromatographic separation as well as the distinguishable [M+H]+ precursor ion. The linearity of each target analyte was demonstrated with a coefficient of determination (r2) of >0.9960 over the expected range of sample concentrations. The accuracy ranged from 88.1%-119.3% with LOD and LOQ of <70 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL, respectively. Excellent precisions were established within 0.4%-9.1% of the relative standard deviation. An insignificant ME within -5.2% to +8.7% was achieved using three different strategies of chromatography, sample extraction, and sample dilution. The RE was good for all target analytes within 84.7%-123.5% except for N-desethylacetildenafil at low (53.8%) and medium (65.1%) quality control levels. The method was successfully applied to 25 samples of ICPs where 17 of them were found to be adulterated with PDE5 inhibitors and their analogues. Further quantification revealed the total amount of these adulterants ranged from 2.77 to 121.64 mg per sachet.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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