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Bongkrekic Acid: Invisible Food Killer

In 1895, there was a food-poisoning outbreak, caused by one kind of Indonesian traditional food, Tempe Bongkrek, in Java of Indonesia. After decades, bongkrekic acid was found from food and reported that mortality rate was turned out to be 50%. So what exactly is bongkrekic acid? Which foods will produce bongkrekic acid once they go bad? What prevention and detection methods are there for bongkrekic acid? 

Pribolab takes you into the mycotoxins: bongkrekic acid.

1. How is bongkrekic acid toxin produced?

Bongkrekic acid is a toxin that can cause food poisoning produced by B. cocovenenans. The hot and humid summer and autumn are very suitable for the reproduction of such microorganisms. Humid and airtight kitchens and production workshops are very likely to cause a large number of bacteria to multiply.

Foods that cause bongkrekic acid have one thing in common in the production process, that is, they need to be fermented or soaked for a long time. In daily life, the foods that everyone comes into contact with mainly include fermented grain products, potato products, fungus, etc. Among them, fermented grain foods include rice noodles, rice rolls, rice cakes, and corn starch; potato products include vermicelli, sweet potato starch, etc. During the production process of this kind of food, if the raw materials are deteriorated, improperly stored, soaked for too long, or stored in a humid environment, they may be contaminated. 

2. What are the symptoms of bongkrekic acid toxin poisoning?

The onset of bongkrekic acid is acute, and the incubation period is generally 30 minutes to 12 hours. Symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Severe cases can lead to death, with a fatality rate of over 50%. In addition, bongkrekic acid is not afraid of high temperature, and cannot be eliminated at 100℃. Besides there is no antidote for rapid detoxification in medicine.

3. Bongkrekic Acid Toxin Detection Solution

Bongkrekic acid toxin is difficult to detect, highly toxic, and has a high mortality rate. Therefore, the detection and prevention of bongkrekic acid in the process of grain food processing is particularly important. Pribolab provides bongkrekic acid detection solutions, including LC-MS/MS solutions and rapid testing solutions, to help you establish the optimal method.

3.1 LC-MS/MS Method

Currently, the commonly used methods on the market are solid-phase extraction column purification and liquid-liquid extraction purification methods, which may face problems such as complex operation, large consumption of organic reagents, high interference, and low recovery rate. Pribolab R&D Center released a new product: bongkrekic acid column, based on optimized preparation method and a “one-step” purification. It has the characteristics of simple and fast pretreatment, low consumption of organic reagents, high recovery rate, and good purification effect, and is suitable for the purification of bongkrekic acid in various food matrices.

Suggested method: The structural formula of bongkrekic acid contains 3 carboxyl groups (-COOH), which is highly acidic and easily loses protons and is negatively charged. Its retention factor and selectivity are greatly affected by the pH value. When the mobile phase conditions are acidic, ionization can be avoided and symmetrical chromatographic peaks can be obtained. Therefore, methanol + 1% acetic acid water (80:20) was used as the mobile phase in LC, and the detection limit was 0.2 μg/g. The same acidic mobile phase environment inhibits the ionization of oryzanic acid, allowing it to exist in molecular form. The retention in the reverse stationary phase is enhanced, and the combination with the residual silanol groups in the stationary phase is reduced, which helps to improve the peak shape, and the detection limit is 0.1 μg/kg.

3.2 Rapid Testing Method

Pribolab provides bongkrekic acid rapid test strips (Coming soon), based on the principle of competition immunochromatography. This product can quickly detect fermented products, fungus products, etc. It is suitable for on-site rapid detection of various enterprises,  institutions and supervision departments.

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