Fishery products are perishable due to the action of many enzymes, both endogenous and exogenous. The latter are produced by bacteria that may contaminate the products. When fishes age, there is a massive bacteria growth that causes the appearance of off-flavor
. In order to obtain “false” freshness of fishery products, an illicit treatment with hydrogen peroxide is reported to be used. Residues of hydrogen peroxide in food may be of toxicology concern. We developed two mass spectrometry based methodologies to identify and quantify molecules related to the treatment of fishes with hydrogen peroxide. With ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS) we evaluated the concentration of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), trimethylamine (TMA), dimethylamine (DMA), and cadaverine (CAD) in fish products. After evaluating LOQ, we measured and validated the lower limits of quantification (LLOQs as first levels of calibration curves) values of 50 (TMAO), 70 (TMA), 45 (DMA), and 40 (CAD) ng/mL. A high ratio between TMAO and TMA species indicated the freshness of the food. With a GC-MS method we confirmed the illicit treatment measuring the levels of H2
after an analytical reaction with anisole to give 2-hydroxyanisole as a marker. This latter product was detected in the headspace of the homogenized sample with simplification of the work-up. A LLOQ of 50 ng/mL was checked and validated. When fish products were whitened and refreshed with hydrogen peroxide, the detected amount of the product 2-hydroxyanisole could be very important, (larger than 100 mg/kg). The developed analytical methods were suitable to detect the illicit management of fishery products with hydrogen peroxide; they resulted as sensitive, selective, and robust.
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