Analytical tools for identification of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) coming from polyurethane adhesives in multilayer packaging materials and their migration into food simulants


Adhesives used in food packaging to glue different materials can provide several substances as potential migrants, and the identification of potential migrants and migration tests are required to assess safety in the use of adhesives. Solid-phase microextraction in headspace mode and gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS) and ChemSpider and SciFinder databases were used as powerful tools to identify the potential migrants in the polyurethane (PU) adhesives and also in the individual plastic films (polyethylene terephthalate, polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, and polyethylene/ethyl vinyl alcohol). Migration tests were carried out by using Tenax® and isooctane as food simulants, and the migrants were analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. More than 63 volatile and semivolatile compounds considered as potential migrants were detected either in the adhesives or in the films. Migration tests showed two non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) coming from PU adhesives that migrated through the laminates into Tenax® and into isooctane. Identification of these NIAS was achieved through their mass spectra, and 1,6-dioxacyclododecane-7,12-dione and 1,4,7-trioxacyclotridecane-8,13-dione were confirmed. Caprolactam migrated into isooctane, and its origin was the external plastic film in the multilayer, demonstrating real diffusion through the multilayer structure. Comparison of the migration values between the simulants and conditions will be shown and discussed.

Cross-section of multilayer packaging material (polyethylene terephthalate/adhesive /oriented polyamide/adhesive/cast polypropylene) viewed by optical microscopy

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This work has been financed by the Project SAFEMTECH (IAPP-MARIE CURIE Actions 2011–2014, 7TH FP).

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Correspondence to Cristina Nerín.

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Published in the special paper collection Recent Advances in Food Analysis with guest editors J. Hajslova, R. Krska, M. Nielen.

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Félix, J.S., Isella, F., Bosetti, O. et al. Analytical tools for identification of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) coming from polyurethane adhesives in multilayer packaging materials and their migration into food simulants. Anal Bioanal Chem 403, 2869–2882 (2012).

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  • Food safety
  • Multilayer food packaging
  • Polyurethane adhesives
  • Migration
  • NIAS