Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 10, Issue 12, pp 3856–3865 | Cite as

An Improved HPLC-FLD for Fast and Simple Detection of Ethyl Carbamate in Soy Sauce and Prediction of Precursors

  • Kai Zhou
  • Yao Liu
  • Wen-Qian Li
  • Gong-Liang Liu
  • Na Wei
  • Yuan-Ming SunEmail author
  • Wei-Dong Bai
  • Zhen-Lin XuEmail author


A high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD) method for ethyl carbamate (EC) determination in Chinese soy sauce was developed and used to predict EC precursors, and extraction, derivatization, and chromatographic conditions were optimized systematically. Under optimal conditions, the limit of detection, linear range, and recoveries were 3.91 μg/L, 12.87–274.87 μg/L, and 81.5–95.4%, respectively. The method precision was less than 8.9% (RSD) and no significant difference was found between EC determinations measured by HPLC-FLD and GC/MS. Using the proposed HPLC-FLD method, the EC contents in Chinese soy sauces ranged from not detected to 64.88 μg/L (n = 19). Except for one soy sauce brand, the EC contents in low-salt solid-state fermented (LSF) soy sauces were lower than those in high-salt liquid fermented (HLF) soy sauces and were mainly affected by alcohol content. Moreover, the free ornithine and total arginine contents were significantly correlated with EC content in the soy sauce products. The results of this work provide a foundation for further study of EC formation and inhibition in Chinese soy sauces.


Ethyl carbamate Soy sauce HPLC-FLD Precursors 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by the Science and Technology Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (2015B020205002, 2013B020311019, 2014TQ01N109), the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2012CB720803), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (S2013030013338 and 2014A030313592), and the Technology Bureau of Zhongshan, China (2016C1013).

Conflict of Interest

Kai Zhou declares that he has no conflict of interest. Yao Liu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Wen-Qian Li declares that she has no conflict of interest. Gong-Liang Liu declares that he has no conflict of interest. Na Wei declares that she has no conflict of interest. Yuan-Ming Sun declares that he has no conflict of interest. Wei-Dong Bai declares that he has no conflict of interest. Zhen-Lin Xu declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.

Supplementary material

12161_2017_948_MOESM1_ESM.doc (110 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 110 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kai Zhou
    • 1
  • Yao Liu
    • 1
  • Wen-Qian Li
    • 1
  • Gong-Liang Liu
    • 2
  • Na Wei
    • 3
  • Yuan-Ming Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wei-Dong Bai
    • 2
  • Zhen-Lin Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food Quality and Safety, College of Food ScienceSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Light Industry and Food ScienceZhongkai University of Agriculture and EngineeringGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Guangdong Food Industry Research InstituteGuangzhouChina

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